The four girls who share the lead role in Matilda (Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington-Cox) won the coveted award for best actress in a musical. The youngest of the trio, Eleanor Worthington-Cox, aged ten, said: ‘It’s pretty cool – and scary – but also awesome. I just hope the next person to follow in my footsteps feels as honoured as I do.’ This was not the first instance of a prize being awarded in this capacity – the teenage actors who alternated in the role of Billy Elliot, were awarded with a joint honour of an Olivier award for best actor in a musical in 2006.
Teaching Drama cover star Bertie Carvel was awarded for his portrayal of headmistress Miss Trunchbull, with a prize for best actor in a musical. Carvel is set to step down from the role this July, with his successor yet to be announced.
While the RSC made Olivier award winning history, it was a mixed bag for The National Theatre. John Hodge’s Collaborators was awarded the prize for best new play. Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller were named best actor for their roles in Frankenstein. However, runaway hit One Man, Two Guvnors, for which James Corden was nominated as best actor, came away with nothing.
Open Air Theatre had reason to celebrate, as their production, Crazy for You, won best musical revival. Director, Timothy Sheader, who appeared in Teaching Drama summer 1, has now completed his hat-trick of musical revival awards, winning last year for Into the Woods and Hello Dolly! the year before that. Sheader said: ‘It’s quite unbelievable but amazing. It feels slightly greedy! I don’t think we can even look at the nominations list next year; we’ve had our turn that’s it.’
The ceremony, in its 36th year, took place at The Royal Opera House. The awards were screened on the BBC’s red button service and online. Events also took place in Covent Garden and New York to celebrate the awards.