The Ferryman was awarded accolades for Best New Play (Jez Butterworth), Best Director (Sam Mendes) and Best Actress (Laura Donnelly) at the 2018 Olivier Awards on Sunday night. The evening also saw Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre awarded seven prizes, including Best New Musical – meaning it now shares the title of most-decorated musical in Olivier Awards’ history with Matilda, which won in 2012.
Best Actor went to Bryan Cranston for Network at the National Theatre Lyttelton, Best Actor in a Supporting Role to Bertie Carvel for Ink at the Almeida and Duke of York’s Theatres and Best Actress in a Supporting Role to Denise Gough for Angels In America at the National Theatre Lyttelton.
Hamilton not only won Best New Musical but also Outstanding Achievement in Music (composer-lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda), Best Actor in a Musical (Giles Terera), Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Michael Jibson), Best Theatre Choreographer (Andy Blankenbuehler), Best Lighting Design (Howell Binkley) and Best Sound Design (Nevin Steinberg).
Girl from the North Country at the Old Vic took home Best Actress in a Musical (Shirley Henderson) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Sheila Atim).
Undoubtedly one of the hits of 2017, The Ferryman, supported by Bruno Wang Productions, has been a huge critical success, playing to sell-out houses and earning five-star reviews.
Sam Mendes took the opportunity to pay tribute to British director Howard Davies, who died earlier this year, saying: “I lost count of the number of times while I was directing this that I thought: how would Howard do this? This is dedicated to him.”
In his acceptance speech, writer Jez Butterworth joked: “I won one of these before, 22 years ago. After about 10 years, this bit on the bottom fell off… I have to say I’m already worried the build quality hasn’t improved.”
The Ferryman was also nominated in four other categories: Best Actor (Paddy Considine), Best Supporting Actor (John Hodgkinson), Best Supporting Actress (for both Dearbhla Molloy and Bríd Brennan) and Best Set Design (Rob Howell).
There were awards, too, for other shows supported by Bruno Wang Productions. Best Musical Revival went to Follies at the National Theatre Olivier, which also won Best Costume Design (Vicki Mortimer). Best Set Design went to Bob Crowley and 59 Productions for An American in Paris at the Dominion Theatre.
Other notable awards included Outstanding Achievement in Opera to Joyce DiDonato and Daniela Barcellona, being recognised for their performances in Semiramide at the Royal Opera House. Semiramide also won Best New Opera Production.
Outstanding Achievement in Dance was given to Francesca Velicu for her performance in English National Ballet’s production of Pina Bausch’s Le Sacre du Printemps at Sadler’s Wells and Flight Pattern by Crystal Pite at the Royal Opera House was named Best New Dance Production.