Rory Kinnear and Adrian Lester share best actor prize at ES awards

Adrian Lester. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Rory Kinnear and Adrian Lester have been jointly awarded the best actor prize at this year’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

They have both been recognised for their performances in the National Theatre’s production of Othello in which Lester appeared in the title role and Kinnear played Iago.

In the best actress category Helen Mirren took home the prize for her performance as the Queen in The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre. She saw off competition from Billie Piper, Kristin Scott Thomas and Lesley Manville, as well as Linda Bassett.

Richard Eyre was given the best director gong for his production of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts at the Almeida Theatre. The former NT director beat the National’s current boss Nicholas Hytner, and the venue’s future leader Rufus Norris, as well as Lyndsey Turner, to the title.

Best play went to Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood, which also ran at the Almeida Theatre before transferring to the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Meanwhile this year’s new best musical performance prize was presented to Rosalie Craig for her appearance in the National’s new musical The Light Princess.

Merrily We Roll Along, which ran at the Menier Chocolate Factory and transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre, was named the best musical. It beat The Light Princess and The Book of Mormon to the title.

David Walliams won the new comedy prize for his role as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Special awards presented at the ceremony included those that went to Maggie Smith, to Andrew Lloyd-Webber and to Kevin Spacey, for their contributions to the world stage, musical theatre and British theatre respectively.

The prizes were presented at a ceremony held this evening at London’s Savoy Hotel, hosted by actor Damian Lewis.


The award winners in full are:

Best actor (joint)

Rory Kinnear for Othello, National (Olivier)

Adrian Lester for Othello, National (Olivier)


Natasha Richardson award for best actress

Helen Mirren for The Audience, Gielgud Theatre


Best play

Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood, Almeida Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre


Ned Sherrin award for best musical

Merrily We Roll Along at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Harold Pinter Theatre


Best director

Richard Eyre for Ghosts, Almeida Theatre


Best design

Bob Crowley for People, National (Lyttelton) and The Audience, Gielgud Theatre, and Once, Phoenix Theatre


Charles Wintour award for most promising playwright

Rachel De-lahay for Routes, Royal Court Theatre


Milton Shulman award for outstanding newcomer

Seth Numrich for Sweet Bird of Youth, Old Vic


Best musical performance

Rosalie Craig for The Light Princess, National (Lyttelton)


Emerging talent award 

Cush Jumbo for Josephine and I, Bush Theatre


Award for comedy

David Walliams for his performance as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Noel Coward Theatre


Beyond theatre award

BBC Proms 2013


Editor's award

Kevin Spacey for his contribution to British theatre


Lebedev special award

Andrew Lloyd-Webber for his contribution to musical theatre


London Evening Standard theatre icon award

Maggie Smith for her contribution to the world stage