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Deborah Findlay and Adam James win Clarence Derwent awards

Malcolm Sinclair presenting Deborah Findlay with her Clarence Derwent Award. Photo: Phil Adams Malcolm Sinclair presenting Deborah Findlay with her Clarence Derwent Award. Photo: Phil Adams
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Deborah Findlay and Adam James have won this year’s Clarence Derwent awards for best supporting actors in a production.

Findlay’s award was for the role of Volumnia in Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse, with James picking his up for playing Prime Minister Evans in Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III.

Previous winners of the awards, which have been presented in the UK since 1948, include Sheridan Smith, Ian McDiarmid and Zoe Wanamaker.

Equity president Malcolm Sinclair presented each actor with a £500 prize and certificate, praising Findlay as “one of our finest actresses”.

He said her performance of Rosalind in the 1989 Oxford Stage Company’s production of As You Like It as “was the greatest Rosalind I have ever seen” and added that the award was “long overdue”.

Findlay said: “This is the most wonderful present – to get an award like this from one’s peers. It’s wonderful and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me, my wonderful friends, agents and directors I have worked with.”

She told The Stage that Coriolanus was a “big challenge”.

“She [Volumnia] was such a force and I felt she had to be that in the production and be the driving force of her son, so that was what I was looking at. It was very exciting and to do such an epic play in such a small space – I thought it was a brilliant production,” she said.

Coriolanus was screened live as part of its run, and Findlay described the live cinema experience as “very frightening”.

“I think the whole idea of NT Live is fantastic because it gives thousands more people the opportunity to see these plays. But it is quite alarming to do, because it’s live. In a way, it’s the worst of both worlds, because it’s live, with no retakes and you just have to go for it,” she said.

Her next role will be in the Caryl Churchill play Escaped Alone at the Royal Court in London.

James was not able to pick up his award, because he is currently appearing in King Charles III on Broadway. His co-star in the play, Nicholas Rowe, received it on his behalf.

Rowe said: “He gave a terrific performance, and was always very honest and direct and never let any tricks get in the way of his particular story.”

At the ceremony at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London, Equity also presented its young member and student member bursaries.

The £500 student bursaries were awarded to Danielle Whitfield and Scott Lyons, from Bristol Old Vic and East 15 Acting School respectively.

Actor Joanne Gale and circus performer Luke Hallgarten picked up the young members’ bursaries, also worth £500 each.

Gale will use hers to develop a one-person show about Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, while Hallgarten will use his award to part-finance a week-long clowning course with Philippe Gaulier in France.

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