The cast of Bend it Like Beckham winner of Best Musical. Picture © Stephen Pover Photography.

William Russell

Best actor – Kenneth Cranham. Best actress – Denise Gough.

 

The winners of the 2015 Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards

Pictures by Stephen Pover Photography.

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Best New Play 

Hangmen by Martin McDonagh

The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical

Bend It Like Beckham

Director

Howard Goodall, composer of Bend It Like Beckham.

Best Actor

Kenneth Cranham in The Father

Best Actress

Denise Gough in People, Places and Things.

Gough

Denise Gough at the pre-Awards reception

The Trewin Award for Best Shakespearian Performance

Judi Dench in The Winter’s Tale

Best Director

Robert Icke for Oresteia

Icke

Robert Icke

Best Designer

Anna Fleischle for Hangmen

Fleischle

Anna Fleischle

Most Promising Playwright

James Fritz for Four Minutes Twelve Seconds

The Jack Tinker Awards for Most Promising Newcomer (other than a playwright)

David Moorst in Violence and Son

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Mark Shenton, chair of the Drama Section, speaking of the importance of subsidy for the theatre, said the Awards would not exist were it not for subsidy, either and the Circle was grateful for the long term sponsorship by Nymam Lipson Paul and also to the Hilary and Stuart Williams Foundation for the Arts who had newly come on board this year. Shenton said:

These awards would also not exist were it not for the critics who vote for them and whom against considerable editorial and financial pressures, continue to cover and celebrate the ever-expanding waterfront of British theatre, even as the pagination and fees from the traditional outlets to do so in shrink.

While other major awards ceremonies are either exclusive industry affairs – voted for by the members of the Society of London Theatre for their own productions to take home Olivier Awards, or celebrity-driven promotion tools for the paper presenting them in the case of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards – the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards are entirely free from commercial pressures.

The great Arthur Smith entertained the assembled audience of winners, publicists, critics and – judging by the screams every time his name was mentioned – fans female of Benedict Cumberbatch with his usual blend of jokes old and new. He introduced himself as Jeremy Corbyn whom he claims to look like. It went down well, but was capped by Dame Judi when she went to accept the Trewin Medal for her performance as Paulina in .

Actually, I am Tracey Ullman,

she began, to loud applause. Smith Nil – Dame One.

The event was, as usual, organised by Catherine Cooper Events.