Matilda the Musical swept the board at the Olivier Awards this evening, setting a new record for the number of wins by a single show.
The Royal Shakespeare Company production picked up seven gongs, beating the previous record of six wins by Nicholas Nickleby in 1980. The four girls who play Matilda became the youngest ever Olivier winners when they won the prize for best actress in a musical. Aged between ten and 12, Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington Cox beat the previous record set by the “Billy Elliots” at the 2006 ceremony.
Matilda the Musical, which was adapted by Dennis Kelly with songs by Tim Minchin, was also crowned best new musical. Bertie Carvel won the award for best actor in a musical for his portrayal of Miss Trunchbull while Matthew Warchus and Peter Darling were recognised in the best director and best choreographer categories respectively.
Kelly said that the show was “an amazing collaborative effort” but that it would not have happened without the Royal Shakespeare Company’s backing.
Speaking to The Stage, he said: “No commercial producer would have touched me with a stick to write a musical â€“ why would they? I had never written any musicals. I wonder whether they would have had the bravery to go for Tim [Minchin, who wrote the songs]. That said, what has been great is getting commercial people involved. It’s the combination.”
Out of the 23 awards on offer, 19 were won by productions that originated in subsidised venues. The National Theatre’s three awards included the best actor prize being presented jointly to Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller for their alternating performances in Frankenstein and the best new play award for John Hodge’s Collaborators. Despite receiving five nominations, the National’s production of One Man, Two Guvnors did not pick up any awards.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre completed a hat-trick of best musical revival Oliviers, winning this year for Crazy for You and this show also won for best costume design. The Donmar Warehouse’s production of Anna Christie won two gongs â€“ best revival and best actress for Ruth Wilson.
Sheridan Smith won her second Olivier in two years. After winning the best actress in a musical prize last year for her turn in Legally Blonde the Musical, she took home the award for best performance in a supporting role for Flare Path at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.
Meanwhile, English National Opera celebrated two wins â€“ for its production of Castor and Pollux at the London Coliseum and the outstanding achievement in opera award for the “breadth and diversity of its artistic programme”.
As previously announced, lyricist Tim Rice and outgoing director of Royal Ballet Monica Mason were both given an Olivier Special Award.
The 2012 Olivier Awards were held at the Royal Opera House. The event was sponsored by Mastercard.
For full coverage of the Olivier Awards 2012, see this week’s print edition of The Stage.
The awards in full are:
Best new play Collaborators at the Cottesloe, National Theatre
Best revival Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse
Best entertainment and family Derren Brown â€“ Svengali at the Shaftesbury Theatre
Best actress Ruth Wilson for Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse
Best actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller for Frankenstein at the Olivier, National Theatre
Best performance in a supporting role Sheridan Smith for Flare Path at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket
Best actress in a musical The Matildas for Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre (Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington Cox)
Best actor in a musical Bertie Carvel for Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre
Best performance in a supporting role in a musical Nigel Harman for Shrek the Musical at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Best new musical Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre
Best musical revival Crazy for You at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Best director Matthew Warchus for Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre
Best theatre choreographer Peter Darling for Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre
Best lighting design Frankenstein designed by Bruno Poet at the Olivier, National Theatre
Best set design Matilda the Musical designed by Rob Howell at the Cambridge Theatre
Best costume design Crazy for You designed by Peter McKintosh at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Best sound design Matilda the Musical designed by Simon Baker at the Cambridge Theatre
Outstanding achievement in an affiliate theatre Theatre Royal, Stratford East in association with the Barbican and Traverse Theatre for Roadkill
Best new opera production English National Opera’s Castor and Pollux at the London Coliseum
Outstanding achievement in opera English National Opera for “the breadth and diversity of its artistic programme”
Best new dance production Desh by the Akram Khan Company at Sadler’s Wells, choreographed by Akram Khan
Outstanding achievement in dance Edward Watson for his performance in The Metamorphosis at the Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House
BBC Radio 2 Olivier Audience Award Les Miserables