Jodie Comer takes center stage at the 2022 Evening Standard Theater Awards

Jodie Comer, winner of the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress, and Stephen Graham (Dave Benett)

Jodie Comer and James McAvoy took home Best Acting awards at the 2022 Evening Standard Theater Awards.

The winners of the event celebrating the best of London theatre, in partnership with Garrard, were unveiled during a dinner on Sunday night at the Ivy in the West End.

The awards were hosted by Evening Standard owner Lord Lebedev with actress Sheridan Smith attending the ceremony.

Comer received the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress for her West End debut in Prima Facie. He was introduced to the Killing Eve star by his close friend and mentor Stephen Graham.

McAvoy won the Best Actor Award for his performance in Cyrano de Bergerac. The His Dark Materials star was unable to attend the event, so host Smith accepted the award on his behalf.

Play of the Year went to Best of Enemies, James Graham’s fictionalized retelling of the 1968 US political televised debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal. Stars Zachary Quinto and David Harewood joined Graham to accept the award.

Pearl Cleage’s Blues For An Alabama Sky won Lynette Linton the Milton Shulman Award for Best Director, presented by Josie Rourke and Martha Plimpton. Nica Burns, co-owner of the Nimax Theaters group, has accepted a special award in recognition of her support of London theater during the pandemic.

One of the first producers to reopen theaters in a time of grave uncertainty, Burns also launched @sohoplace, the West End’s first new purpose-built theater in 50 years this summer.

The second Special Prize of the evening went to stage legend Dame Vanessa Redgrave, one of the strongest advocates for financial support for the arts during the lockdown.

Tom Scutt was awarded Best Design for his imaginative Playhouse Theater Cabaret, while Isobel McArthur received the Emerging Talent Award for Pride & Prejudice*(*sort of), her pop music-inspired adaptation of the classic novel by Jane Austen.

Red Pitch, a coming-of-age story about gentrification and community, earned Tyrell Williams the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright.

The award comes with a generous donation from Dame Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, artistic director and global content advisor at Condé Nast.

Lord Lebedev said: “I am delighted to celebrate the best of London theater alongside the talented writers, actors, directors and producers who have brought the West End back to life.

“I’m also pleased to rekindle one of the newspaper’s greatest traditions, one I’ve sorely missed these last few years of the pandemic.”

The awards, which considered productions on the London stage between 20 May last year and 13 October this year, were the first held since 2019 due to the pandemic.

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