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Judi Dench Makes History at 2016 Olivier Awards

Judi Dench Makes History at 2016 Olivier Awards

Judi Dench won her eighth Olivier Award at this weekend’s ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London. Dench has now won more Oliviers than any performer ever. The Oliviers, England’s equivalent to the Tony Awards, launched 40 years ago. 

Dench took home the award for her supporting role as Paulina in the Kenneth Branagh Company’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale.” The actress told The BBC that although the award was “lovely to have,” the honor “in actual fact […] belongs to [the company and crew and stage management] as much as it belongs to me.” 

Irish actress Denise Gough won the Best Actress award for her performance in “People, Places and Things,” currently playing in London’s West End. The show stars Gough as Emma, a recovering alcoholic.

Acclaimed ballerina Alessandra Ferri won Outstanding Achievement in Dance for her performances in “Chéri” and “Woolf Works.” For Ferri, this is a truly stellar achievement. At 52 years old, she is the among the oldest leading ladies in a ballet. Last year, Ferri spoke to The Telegraph about her work in “Woolf Works” stating, “I’m a pioneer and maybe I can open the door to whole new possibilities for other mature dancers.”

Imelda Staunton and Lara Pulver both won for their Best Actress and Supporting Actress roles in the musical “Gypsy.” The woman-centric Stephen Sondheim musical also won for Best Musical Revival. 

Jessica Swale’s comedy “Nell Gwynn” won for Best New Comedy. The show is a clever take on the eponymous actress, one of the first women to ever appear on the London Stage. Gemma Arterton (“Gemma Bovery”) stars as Gwynn. 

In creative awards, women did not fare as well. Anna Fleischle won the Blue-i Theatre Technology Award for Best Set Design for her work in “Hangmen.” Other categories such as lighting, choreography costume design were dominated by men. 

This Oliviers nominations are just a microcosm of gender disparity throughout theater world. A recent research report by The Stage uncovered significant discrepancies in the salaries of female and male theater executives at London’s top subsidized theaters. With a pay gap of almost $41,500 dollars between male and female executives, inequalities affect even the highest-ranking women in theater. Furthermore, of the 20 theaters The Stage surveyed none were helmed by black, Asian or minority leaders. For a detailed breakdown of the salaries of leaders at the top 20 subsidized theaters in London, visit The Stage’s website

[via Variety and The Stage]

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