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

Best Actress Natasha Richardson Award winner Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham (Dave Benett)

Jodie Comer and James McAvoy have won Best Actor awards at the 2022 Evening Standard Theater Awards.

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

The awards were hosted by Evening Standard owner Lord Lebedev with actress Sheridan Smith at 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 Best Actor for his performance in Cyrano de Bergerac. The His Dark Materials star was unable to attend the event, so Companion Smith took home the award on his behalf.

Play of the Year went to Best of Enemies, James Graham’s fictionalized account of the 1968 American political television debates between William F Buckley and Gore Vidal. Stars Zachary Quinto and David Harewood joined Graham in accepting 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 for London theater during the pandemic.

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

The second special prize of the evening went to the legend of the scene Dame Vanessa Redgrave, one of the most fervent campaigners for financial support for the arts during the confinement.

Tom Scutt picked up Best Design for his inventive cabaret at the Playhouse Theatre, while Isobel McArthur picked up 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, won 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 to Condé Nast.

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

“I am also happy to rekindle one of the greatest traditions of the newspaper, the one that I have sorely missed in recent years of the pandemic.”

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

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