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Olivier Awards Spotlight: Best Actress in a Play


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There were some utterly fantastic performances by women across the West End last year, with broad and compelling writing, gender-blind casting and meaty roles available so the best female talent could truly flourish.

It’s a super tough category! The nominees are:

Glenda Jackson for King Lear at The Old Vic

After taking a 25-year break from acting to follow her political career, the double Oscar winning actress stepped back on the West End stage to star as King Lear. At 80 years old, Jackson gave a performance that will go down in the history books. A complete powerhouse, she was described as having a voice that “can blast out with a force to induce shockwaves.” Any actress should be intimidated by being nominated alongside this force of nature.

Cherry Jones for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre

Five-time Tony Award Nominee Cherry Jones plays matriarch Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams' breakthrough drama. Earning five-star reviews and eight Olivier nominations, The Glass Menagerie is certainly one of the best revivals of the year - which can only mean the cast is also brilliant. Even in its less praising reviews, Cherry Jones managed to receive critical acclaim across the board.


#brianjsmith #cherryjones #olivierawards #theglassmenagerie

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Billie Piper for Yerma at Young Vic

One of the most talked about performances of the year was that of Billie Piper in Yerma. The play follows an infertile woman driven to do the unthinkable by her desperation to have a child. Billie got astonishing reviews across the board with The Evening Standard saying she was "on raw, ferocious, spellbinding form" and The Times saying she "steals the show".

Ruth Wilson for Hedda Gabler at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Wilson is a two-time Olivier Award winner, and has been nominated for a BAFTA and Golden Globe - so she’s no stranger to the glitz and glamour of award shows. This year she’s treated us to a dynamic and complex performance as Hedda in Ivon Van Hove’s production of the Ibsen classic. A hugely challenging role, Ruth Wilson pulled it off and received well deserved critical acclaim - but with a category this strong, can she take home the gold?

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