Andrew Scott, David Tennant, Sophie Okonedo Win Acting Prizes at U.K. Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards

Andrew Scott, David Tennant and Sophie Okonedo took home the acting prizes at the 33rd U.K. Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards.

Scott won best actor for “Vanya,” a one-man Chekov adaptation which saw him play eight different characters in conversation with each other. In February, Scott won best actor at the Critics’ Circle film awards. The theater win makes Scott the inaugural double winner at the Critics’ Circle, winning the same prize at both the Film Awards and the Theatre Awards, both of which are run by umbrella group the U.K. Critics’ Circle.

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Sophie Okonedo won best actress for her role as the titular character in @sohoplace’s “Medea.” The Trewin Award for best Shakespearean performance went to David Tennant for his turn in the Donmar Warehouse’s staging of “Macbeth.”

Rupert Goold won best director for the James Graham-penned production “Dear England” at the National Theatre. The play retells Gareth Southgate’s transformational leadership of the England team. Joseph Fiennes, who stars as Southgate in both the stage show and its upcoming BBC adaptation, was in attendance at the ceremony.

The award for most promising playwright went jointly to Marcelo dos Santos (“Backstairs Billy”) and Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, whose coming-of-age play “Sleepova” saw 2021 BAFTA Rising Star winner Bukky Bakray make her stage debut at the Bush Theatre. The play has been praised by critics for its celebration of Black female friendship.

Nicholas Hytner’s production of “Guys & Dolls” won The Peter Hepple Award for best musical. Jack Wolfe, for his role in the Donmar Theatre’s rock musical “Next to Normal,” was one of two actors awarded the Jack Tinker Award for most promising newcomer. He shared it with Louis McCartney, currently leading the cast of “Stranger Things: The First Shadow,” the stage-based spinoff of the Netflix series. “Stranger Things: The First Shadow” also won the best designer award, which was awarded to Miriam Buether with 59 Productions.

Jack Thorne’s “The Motive and the Cue,” which examines the tensions between John Gielgud and Richard Burton as they rehearsed the 1964 production of “Hamlet,” won The Michael Billington Award for best new play. The Sam Mendes-directed production stars Johnny Flynn as Burton and Mark Gatiss as Gielgud, and enjoyed an acclaimed run at the National Theatre before it transferred to the West End late last year.

The 2024 Empty Space Peter Brook Award for an innovative venue went to the Orange Tree, Richmond. Named to honor the legacy of the late theater director Peter Brook, this was the first U.K. theater award named in Brook’s memory, curated for the Critics’ Circle by founder Blanche Marvin.

The 2024 awards recognize work produced in 2023. See all the winners below.

Best New Play (The Michael Billington Award) – “The Motive and the Cue,” National Theatre

Best Musical (The Peter Hepple Award) – “Guys & Dolls,” Bridge Theatre
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Best Actor – Andrew Scott, “Vanya”
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Best Actress – Sophie Okonedo, “Medea”

Best Shakespearean Performance (The Trewin Award) – David Tennant, “Macbeth”

Best Director – Rupert Goold, “Dear England”
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Best Designer – Miriam Buether with 59 Productions, “Stranger Things: The First Shadow”

Most Promising Playwright – Marcelo dos Santos, “Backstairs Billy”; Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, “Sleepova”

Most Promising Newcomer (The Jack Tinker Award) – Jack Wolfe, “Next to Normal”; Louis McCartney, “Stranger Things: The First Shadow”
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The Empty Space Peter Brook Award – Orange Tree, Richmond

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