Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress

The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play is an annual award presented by The Society of London Theatre in recognition of achievements in commercial British theatre. The awards were established as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976 and renamed in 1984 in honour of English actor Lord Olivier.

The award has been known by its current name of Best Actress since 1993, previously it was known as Actress of the Year. From 1976-1984 and again in 1988, there were two Actress of the Year awards. One for Actress of the Year in a New Play and the other for Actress of the Year in a Revival.

Laurence Olivier Award
for Best Actress
Awarded forBest Actress in a Play
Location United Kingdom
Presented byThe Society of London Theatre
Currently held byPatsy Ferran for Summer and Smoke (2019)
WebsiteOlivier Awards.com

Winners and nominees

1980s

Year Actor Play Character
1985
Yvonne Bryceland The Road to Mecca Miss Helen
Wendy Morgan Martine Martine
Harriet Walter The Castle Skinner
Joanne Whalley Saved Pam
1986
Lindsay Duncan Les Liaisons Dangereuses Marquise de Merteuil
Julia McKenzie Woman in Mind Susan
Juliet Stevenson As You Like It, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Troilus and Cressida Rosalind / Madame de Tourvel / Cressida
Irene Worth The Bay at Nice Valentina Nrovka
1987
Judi Dench Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra
Miranda Richardson A Lie of the Mind Beth
Maggie Smith Lettice and Lovage and Coming in to Land Lettice Douffet / Halina
Juliet Stevenson Yerma Yerma
1989/90
Fiona Shaw Electra, As You Like It and The Good Person of Szechwan Electra / Celia / Shen Te
Sheila Hancock Prin Prin
Jane Lapotaire Shadowlands Joy
Prunella Scales Single Spies Elizabeth II

1990s

Year Actor Play Character
1991
Kathryn Hunter The Visit Claire Zachanassian
Penny Downie Scenes from a Marriage Marianne
Barbara Jefford Coriolanus Volumnia
Josette Simon After the Fall Maggie
1992
Juliet Stevenson Death and the Maiden Paulina
Janet McTeer Uncle Vanya Yelena
Patricia Routledge Talking Heads Miss Schofield
Fiona Shaw Hedda Gabler Hedda Gabler Tesman
1993
Alison Steadman The Rise and Fall of Little Voice Mari
Stockard Channing Six Degrees of Separation Ouisa Kittredge
Judi Dench The Gift of the Gorgon Helen
Jane Horrocks The Rise and Fall of Little Voice Little Voice
1994
Fiona Shaw Machinal Young Woman
Kathryn Hunter The Skriker Skriker
Diana Rigg Medea Medea
Penelope Wilton The Deep Blue Sea Hester Collyer
1995
Clare Higgins Sweet Bird of Youth Alexandra Del Lago
Frances de la Tour Les Parents terribles Leo
Sheila Gish Les Parents terribles Yvonne
Margot Leicester Broken Glass Sylvia Gellburg
1996
Judi Dench Absolute Hell Christine Foskett
Diana Rigg Mother Courage Mother Courage
Zoë Wanamaker The Glass Menagerie Amanda Wingfield
Lia Williams Skylight Kyra Hollis
1997
Janet McTeer A Doll's House Nora Helmer
Eileen Atkins John Gabriel Borkman Mrs. Gunhild Borkman
Vanessa Redgrave John Gabriel Borkman Ella Rentheim
Diana Rigg Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Martha
1998
Zoë Wanamaker Electra Electra
Judi Dench Amy's View Esme Allen
Sally Dexter Closer Anna
Maggie Smith A Delicate Balance Claire
1999
Eileen Atkins The Unexpected Man Woman
Sinéad Cusack Our Lady of Sligo Mai O'Hara
Judi Dench Filumena Marturano Filumena
Nicole Kidman The Blue Room Various Characters
Diana Rigg Britannicus and Phèdre Agrippina / Phaedra

2000s

Year Actor Play Character
2000
Janie Dee Comic Potential Jacie Triplethree
Jennifer Ehle The Real Thing Annie
Maggie Smith The Lady in the Van Miss Shepherd
Alison Steadman The Memory of Water Teresa
2001
Julie Walters All My Sons Kate Keller
Jessica Lange Long Day's Journey Into Night Mary Tyrone
Helen Mirren Orpheus Descending Lady Torrance
Julia Ormond My Zinc Bed Elsa
Harriet Walter Life x 3 Sonia
2002
Lindsay Duncan Private Lives Amanda Prynne
Lindsay Duncan Mouth to Mouth Laura
Victoria Hamilton A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Sheila
Zoë Wanamaker Boston Marriage Anna
2003
Clare Higgins Vincent in Brixton Ursula Loyer
Anita Dobson Frozen Nancy
Gwyneth Paltrow Proof Catherine
Emily Watson Uncle Vanya Sonya
2004
Eileen Atkins Honour Honor
Helen Mirren Mourning Becomes Electra Christine Mannon
Ann Mitchell Through the Leaves Martha
Kelly Reilly After Miss Julie Miss Julie
Kristin Scott Thomas Three Sisters Masha
2005
Clare Higgins Hecuba Hecuba
Victoria Hamilton Suddenly, Last Summer Catharine
Anna Maxwell Martin His Dark Materials Lyra
Caroline O'Connor Bombshells Performer
2006
Eve Best Hedda Gabler Hedda Gabler Tesman
Clare Higgins Death of a Salesman Linda Loman
Helen McCrory As You Like It Rosalind
Janet McTeer Mary Stuart Mary, Queen of Scots
Harriet Walter Mary Stuart Elizabeth I of England
2007
Tamsin Greig Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice
Eve Best A Moon for the Misbegotten Josie
Sinéad Cusack Rock 'n' Roll Eleanor / Esme
Kathleen Turner Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Martha
2008
Kristin Scott Thomas The Seagull Arkadina
Anne-Marie Duff Saint Joan Joan of Arc
Kelly Reilly Othello Desdemona
Fiona Shaw Happy Days Winnie
Penelope Wilton John Gabriel Borkman Ella Rentheim
2009
Margaret Tyzack The Chalk Garden Mrs St. Maugham
Deanna Dunagan August: Osage County Violet Weston
Lindsay Duncan That Face Martha
Penelope Wilton The Chalk Garden Miss Madrigal

2010s

Year Actor Play Character
2010
Rachel Weisz A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche DuBois
Gillian Anderson A Doll's House Nora Helmer
Lorraine Burroughs The Mountaintop Camae
Imelda Staunton Entertaining Mr Sloane Kath
Juliet Stevenson Duet for One Stephanie Anderson
2011
Nancy Carroll After the Dance Joan
Tracie Bennett End of the Rainbow Judy Garland
Tamsin Greig The Little Dog Laughed Diane
Sophie Thompson Clybourne Park Bev
2012
Ruth Wilson Anna Christie Anna Christie
Celia Imrie Noises Off Dotty Otley
Lesley Manville Grief Dorothy
Kristin Scott Thomas Betrayal Emma
Marcia Warren The Ladykillers Mrs Wilberforce
2013
Helen Mirren The Audience Queen Elizabeth II
Hattie Morahan A Doll's House Nora Helmer
Billie Piper The Effect Connie
Kristin Scott Thomas Old Times Kate / Anna
2014
Lesley Manville Ghosts Mrs. Helene Alving
Hayley Atwell The Pride Sylvia
Anna Chancellor Private Lives Amanda Prynne
Judi Dench Peter and Alice Alice Liddell
2015
Penelope Wilton Taken at Midnight Irmgard Litten
Gillian Anderson A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche DuBois
Kristin Scott Thomas Electra Electra
Imelda Staunton Good People Margie Walsh
2016
Denise Gough People, Places and Things Emma
Gemma Arterton Nell Gwynn Nell Gwynn
Nicole Kidman Photograph 51 Rosalind Franklin
Janet McTeer Les Liaisons dangereuses Marquise de Merteuil
Lia Williams Oresteia Clytemnestra
2017
Billie Piper Yerma Yerma
Glenda Jackson King Lear King Lear
Cherry Jones The Glass Menagerie Amanda Wingfield
Ruth Wilson Hedda Gabler Hedda Gabler Tesman
2018
Laura Donnelly The Ferryman Caitlin Carney
Lesley Manville Long Day's Journey into Night Mary Tyrone
Audra McDonald Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill Billie Holiday
Imelda Staunton Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Martha
2019
Patsy Ferran Summer and Smoke Alma Winemiller
Gillian Anderson All About Eve Margo Channing
Eileen Atkins The Height of the Storm Madeleine
Sophie Okonedo Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra
Katherine Parkinson Home, I'm Darling Judy

Multiple awards and nominations for Best Actress

Note: The below awards and nominations include individuals awarded and nominated under the now-defunct categories Actress of the Year in a New Play and Actress of the Year in a Revival as well as the current combined Best Actress category.

Awards

Four awards
Three awards
Two awards

Nominations

Nine nominations
Six nominations
Five nominations
Four nominations
Three nominations
Two nominations

See also

References

  • London Theatre Guide (2008). "The Laurence Olivier Awards: Full List of Winners, 1976-2008" (.PDF). 1976-2008. The Society of London Theatre: 20. Retrieved 2008-08-30.

External links

Amber Riley

Amber Patrice Riley (born February 15, 1986) is an American actress, singer and author. She is best known for her portrayal of Mercedes Jones on the Fox comedy-drama series Glee (2009–2015). For her performance on the series, she won a Screen Actors Guild Award, and has been nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, and a Grammy Award.

In November 2016, Riley led the West End debut of Dreamgirls, playing the lead role of Effie White. She won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2017 for her role in Dreamgirls.Riley won season 17 of Dancing with the Stars in 2013. In 2017, Riley appeared as a judge on BBC One musical theatre talent show Let It Shine and formed a musical theatre supergroup with Beverley Knight and Cassidy Janson, known collectively as Leading Ladies and signed to East West Records/Warner. Their debut album, Songs from the Stage, was released on November 17, 2017.

Amy Lennox

Amy Lennox is an actress best known for her work in musical theatre.

She played Margot in the original West End cast of Legally Blonde in 2009, for which she also understudied Sheridan Smith in the leading role of Elle Woods. In 2012 she played Doralee in the UK touring production of 9 to 5.In 2015 she played Lauren in the original West End cast of Kinky Boots. She was nominated for both the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical and the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical her performance.

She played Ellie in the David Bowie and Enda Walsh musical Lazarus when it played a limited season at Kings Cross Theatre from October 2016 - January 2017. She was nominated for the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

In January 2019 she joined the cast of Holby City, playing Chloe Godard, a CT surgeon and daughter of the YAU consultant Ange Godard.

Doreen Mantle

Doreen Mantle (born 1926) is a South African-born English actress who is probably best known for her role as Jean Warboys in One Foot in the Grave (1990–2000).She has appeared in many British television series from the 1960s to the present, such as The Duchess of Duke Street, The Wild House, Sam Saturday, Chalk, Casualty, The Bill, Doctors, Holby City and Jonathan Creek. She played lollipop lady Queenie in Jam & Jerusalem (2006–09). She appeared in episode 63 of Father Brown in January 2018.Mantle has worked extensively on the stage in such productions as My Fair Lady, Keep It in the Family, The Seagull and Hamlet. She also toured Britain in Billy Liar in the role of Florence Boothroyd and performed at the National Theatre in The Voysey Inheritance. In 1979 she was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Death of a Salesman. She has also done a great deal of radio work for BBC Radio 3 and BBC World Service. Mantle played the long suffering wife of the rabbi in BBC Radio 4's comedy series The Attractive Young Rabbi.In 1983 Mantle played "Mrs Shaemen" in Yentl. In 2011, Mantle appeared in Coronation Street as the mother of Colin Fishwick whose identity was taken by John Stape.

Eleanor Worthington Cox

Eleanor Winifred Worthington Cox (born 21 June 2001) is a British former child actress from Merseyside most known for portraying Matilda Wormwood in Matilda the Musical for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress, and Janet Hodgson in The Enfield Haunting, for which she received a British Academy Television Award nomination. Worthington Cox is the youngest recipient of an Olivier Award at the age of 10. Cox is also well known from portraying as Polly Renfrew in the CBBC TV adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather.

Elena Roger

Elena Silvia Roger (born October 27, 1974, Buenos Aires, Argentina ) is an Argentine actress who won the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Édith Piaf in Piaf. She has also appeared in the West End in Evita, Boeing-Boeing, and Passion.

Katie Brayben

Katie Brayben is an English actress and musician who has performed in stage plays, television and musicals and also as a singer and songwriter with her own music. She is presently best known for her portrayal of the title role of Carole King in the London production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, for which she won the 2015 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

Kelly Reilly

Jessica Kelly Siobhán Reilly (born 18 July 1977), is an English actress. Her performance in After Miss Julie at the Donmar Warehouse made her a star of the London stage and earned her a nomination for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress of 2003.

Laura Pitt-Pulford

Laura Pitt-Pulford is a British actress, best known for her work in Musical Theatre.

In 2015 she played Milly in Regent's Park Open Air Theatre production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. She received great acclaim for her performance, with a review from Claire Allfree in The Daily Telegraph commenting "In a marvellous performance, Laura Pitt-Pulford’s sparky, indomitable Milly holds all the power here". Mark Shenton of The Stage stated that "Pitt-Pulford, too, is a radiant, ravishing Milly, combining brassy toughness with vulnerability". She was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance.In 2016 she appeared in the musical Flowers for Mrs. Harris at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield She also starred as Violet in the UK premiere of Side Show at the Southwark Playhouse.In 2017, she played the title role in a UK touring production of Nell Gwynn. Pitt-Pulford most recently appeared in the role of Chairy Barnum in the 2017 revival of the Cy Coleman musical Barnum at the Menier Chocolate Factory alongside comedian Marcus Brigstocke.

Other shows Pitt-Pulford appeared in was the 2014 The Sound of Music as Maria Von Trapp with Michael French at the Curve Theatre in Leicester and earned a UK Theatre Award nomination for her performance of Maria. Pitt-Pulford starred in Craig Revel Horwood’s production of Sunset Boulevard in 2008 in the role of Betty alongside Ben Goddard and Kathryn Evans who played Norma Desmond at the Watermill Theatre and the Comedy Theatre. Pitt-Pulford also played Irene Molloy in 2012’s Leicester Curve production of Hello Dolly! with Michael Xavier and Janie Dee.Pitt-Pulford has also had guest roles in TV dramas Father Brown (where she played Scarlett Dreyfuss) and Doctors (Tina Hempsey).

Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical

The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical is an annual award presented by The Society of London Theatre in recognition of achievements in commercial British theatre. The awards were established as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, and, renamed in 1984 in honour of English actor Lord Olivier.

The Olivier Awards are the most prestigious theatrical awards in the United Kingdom and are the UK equivalent of the Tony Awards. In both 1977 and 1978, the Oliviers presented an award for Best Performance in a Musical, this was won by a female performer on both occasions. The 1977 winner was Anna Sharkey for Maggie, while in 1978 it was won by Elaine Paige for Evita. The following year, they created the category for Best Actress in a Musical.

Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role is an annual award presented by The Society of London Theatre in recognition of achievements in commercial British theatre. The awards were established as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, and, renamed in 1984 in honour of English actor Lord Olivier.

The award was first given in 1977 but in the years following was often given as a singular award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role.

Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical

The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical is an annual award presented by The Society of London Theatre in recognition of achievements in commercial British theatre. The awards were established as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, and, renamed in 1984 in honour of English actor Lord Olivier.

The award has been given as a singular award for Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical since 1991 and has been separated for the first time for the 2015 awards.

Leanne Jones

Leanne Jones (born 21 March 1985) is a British actress best known for her role as Tracy Turnblad in the West End production of the musical Hairspray. In 2008, she won both the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical and the Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Musical and the Critics Circle Award for Best Newcomer.

Lorna Want

Lorna Want (born 28 June 1987) is an Olivier Award winning British theatre actress. She most recently played Cynthia Weil in Beautiful the Carole King Musical, at London’s Aldwych Theatre, for which she won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a supporting role in a musical.

Patsy Ferran

Patsy Ferran is a Spanish-British actress.

Piaf (play)

Piaf is a play by Pam Gems that focuses on the life and career of French chanteuse Edith Piaf. The biographical drama with music portrays the singer as a self-destructive, promiscuous alcoholic and junkie who, in one controversial scene, urinates in public.

The original production starred Jane Lapotaire in the title role, and included Ian Charleson as Pierre. It premiered in 1978 at Royal Shakespeare Company's The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon, after which it moved to the Donmar Warehouse in London, the Aldwych Theatre, the Piccadilly Theatre, and then Wyndham's Theatre, before going to the United States.

In the U.S. the play began in Philadelphia. After six previews the show opened on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre on February 6, 1981 with its original star, Jane Lapotaire. It ran for 165 performances, and Lapotaire won the 1981 Tony Award.

Rebecca Trehearn

Rebecca Trehearn is an actress, best known for her work in musical theatre. She trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, graduating in 2004.

Sarah Greene (actress)

Sarah Greene (born 21 July 1984) is an Irish actress and singer, best known for portraying Helen McCormick in the West End and Broadway productions of The Cripple of Inishmaan. For her performance in the role, she was nominated for the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and the 2014 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. She won an Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actress - Drama, as Hecate Poole in the Showtime and Sky series Penny Dreadful, as well as starring as Maxine in the CBS series Ransom.

Spend Spend Spend

Spend Spend Spend is a musical with a book and lyrics by Steve Brown and Justin Greene and music by Brown. The musical is inspired by the life of Viv Nicholson.

Tamsin Greig

Tamsin Margaret Mary Greig (; born 12 July 1966) is an English actress and comedienne. She played Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books, Dr Caroline Todd in Green Wing and Beverly Lincoln in the British-American sitcom Episodes. She currently stars as Jackie in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner. Other roles include Alice Chenery in BBC One's comedy drama Love Soup, Debbie Aldridge in BBC Radio 4's soap opera The Archers, Miss Bates in the 2009 BBC version of Jane Austen's Emma, and Beth Hardiment in the 2010 film version of Tamara Drewe. Greig is also an acclaimed stage actress; she won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2007 for Much Ado About Nothing, and was nominated again in 2011 and 2015 for her roles in The Little Dog Laughed and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. She is married to the actor Richard Leaf and has three children.

Drama
Musical
Production/Creatives
Dance/Opera
Special/Other
Retired
Ceremonies
Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress
1976–1984 and 1988
1985 onwards (except 1988)

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.