Boyle's Olympic ceremony honoured

A host of stars arrive for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards

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Danny Boyle's Olympic opening ceremony has been honoured at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

The Oscar-winning director and his team got huge cheers when they picked up the Beyond Theatre award from gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Victoria Pendleton.

"We hoped to prove that culture runs through all of us and binds us all together," Boyle said.

The awards, hosted by James Corden, were held at the Savoy Hotel on Sunday.

Picking up his award, Boyle urged the audience to lobby for the inclusion of arts subjects in the English Baccalaureate.

Other winners took the opportunity to speak out against theatre funding cuts.

Theatre passion

Dame Judi Dench was honoured with the Moscow Art Theatre's Golden Seagull award for her contribution to world theatre.

The veteran stage and screen actress, who plays M in James Bond film Skyfall, said she loved making movies "but my absolute passion is the theatre".

Dame Judi will be seen on the stage in London next year in a new play, Peter and Alice, by Skyfall co-writer John Logan, opposite her Bond co-star Ben Wishaw, who plays Q.

The award for best new play went to Nick Payne's Constellations, which has just transferred to the West End from the Royal Court.

Sally Hawkins as Marianne and Rafe Spall as Roland in Constellations Sally Hawkins as Marianne and Rafe Spall as Roland in Constellations

Starring Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins, the story explores a couple's relationship in a series of alternative universes.

At 29, Payne is the youngest playwright to have received the award.

The best actor prize went to Simon Russell Beale for his portrayal of Stalin in the black comedy, Collaborators, at the National Theatre.

'Gloriously screwed up'

Hattie Morahan took the best actress prize for her portrayal of trapped housewife, Nora, in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Young Vic.

Hattie Morahan Morahan won for her moving performance of Nora

She had been up against Australian actress Cate Blanchett for Big and Small, Dame Eileen Atkins for All That Fall and Laurie Metcalf for Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Morahan was presented with the award by Homeland star Damian Lewis.

The tearful actress thanked Ibsen for creating such a "gloriously screwed up heroine".

The prize for best musical went to Sweeney Todd, directed by Jonathan Kent and starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, which transferred from the Chichester Festival to the West End.

The award was presented by rapper Tinie Tempah, who has tweeted about his love of Stephen Sondheim's blood-splattered musical.

Cuts protest

Among the other guests at the event were Colin Firth, Sir Ian McKellen, Ruth Wilson, Bill Nighy and Ralph Fiennes.

Film and theatre director Stephen Daldry, the creative director of the Olympic ceremonies, was presented with a special award at the end of the evening by Stephen Fry.

Both Fry and Daldry were among those who spoke out against cuts in arts budgets.

Meanwhile, National Theatre artistic director Sir Nicholas Hytner, who won two awards - for best director and a special award for his leadership at the NT - said further cuts to theatre budgets made "no economic sense whatsoever".

He called on Culture Secretary Maria Miller to fund all theatres to the level enjoyed by the National Theatre in order to stimulate philanthropic giving.

"Philanthropy is not an alternative to public money - it is a consequence of public funding," he said.

WINNERS OF LONDON EVENING STANDARD 58TH THEATRE AWARDS 2012

Best play - Constellations - Nick Payne (Royal Court Upstairs)

Best director - Nicholas Hytner - Timon of Athens (National's Olivier)

Best actor - Simon Russell Beale - Collaborators (National's Cottesloe)

Natasha Richardson award for best actress - Hattie Morahan - A Doll's House (Young Vic)

Ned Sherrin award for best musical - Sweeney Todd - Chichester Festival and Adelphi

Best design - Soutra Gilmour - Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse ) & Antigone (National's Olivier)

Charles Wintour award for most promising playwright - Lolita Chakrabarti - Red Velvet (Tricycle)

Milton Shulman award for outstanding newcomer - Matthew Tennyson - Making Noise Quietly (Donmar Warehouse)

Lebedev special award - Nicholas Hytner - For his dynamic directorship of the National Theatre

Editor's award - David Hare - For his contribution to theatre

Beyond theatre - Danny Boyle and his team - For the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics

Burberry award for emerging director - Simon Godwin

Moscow Art Theatre's Golden Seagull - Judi Dench

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