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Gemma Arterton: Comedies ‘overlooked’ by theatre awards

Gemma Arterton. Photo: Dave Benett Gemma Arterton. Photo: Dave Benett
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Comedy plays are often unfairly snubbed by theatre awards shows, Gemma Arterton has claimed.

Arterton, who was in the running for best actress at the Olivier Awards for her role in Nell Gwynn, told The Stage the problem also stretched further than theatre, with TV and film comedies also not getting due recognition.

The Shakespeare’s Globe production of Nell Gwynn was nominated for four awards, and won playwright Jessica Swale the award for best new comedy.

Speaking on the red carpet before the awards, Arterton said no one on the show’s team expected to be nominated “because our show’s a comedy”.

She added: “Comedies don’t usually get nominations and things. I think in general – TV, film and theatre – they get a bit overlooked. So we’re just really thrilled.”

Arterton was pipped by Denise Gough for the best actress prize. Gough took home the award for her role in the National Theatre’s drama People, Places and Things.

Speaking to The Stage, Arterton also claimed transferring new plays to the West End was vital in order to “get new talent out there”.

She said: “Luckily, our marginal theatre and fringe theatre and Off-West End theatre do develop plays from scratch. And we’re really lucky that theatres like the Royal Court, the Globe, the National get new talent out there – it’s so important.”

The actor suggested that new writing was the only way to create new theatre classics.

“I like the idea of Nell Gwynn being done for years and years and years to come, because it’s a timeless play. And the same with all these new plays that are coming up,” she said.

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