Olivier Award Nominees 2016 - Interviews


With the Olivier Awards this weekend, London's theatre industry is collectively dusting off their top hats, white tie and tails for the most glamorous award ceremony in the calendar.

Since the nominations were announced last month, we've been catching up with a number of nominees to talk about their relevant productions as well as their reactions to the awards and nominations.

Below is a round-up of some of the nominees, and our interviews with them.

Denise Gough - Best Actress

People, Places and Things
Actress Denise Gough is the breakaway star of this fantastic new drama which has transferred from a sell-out season at the National's Dorfman Theatre. Having previously won the Critics' Circle Award for the role of Emma, Denise received a set of excellent reviews for the West End transfer, and it is certainly our hope that she takes home the prize. We spoke to her earlier this year about the role and the importance of being a strong female in a leading role:

"I'm lucky at the moment to be in such an amazing role where I've got a platform to say this – I'm opposite a man and thinking “I'm not here because of you!” Even in the great roles, the great tragedies – the women are there for the men. I'm trying to be as vocal as I can now because I'm in a position to be! I want to be part of the conversation for future generations..." read more...

Gypsy
Three-time Olivier Award winner Imelda Staunton may well be preparing to take home her fourth award for giving one of the most powerful central performances the West End has seen in years. With many predicting a clean sweep for 'Gypsy' in many categories, Imelda is certainly the odds-on favourite to take home the trophy for her role as overbearing stage mother Rose in the first London production of 'Gypsy' since 1979. We caught up with Ms Staunton ahead of a performance at the Savoy Theatre:

"So, my Mum didn't push me. She was neither for nor against it. She knew I was quite good at it because I'd been in all the school plays and she trusted my teacher, Mrs. Stoker, and so she thought: "Well, give it a go!" read more...

Mrs Henderson Presents
Leading man Ian Bartholomew is no stranger to musical theatre and takes on this challenging role originally made famous by Bob Hoskins in the film of the same name. We spoke to him about the challenges an actor faces when they create a role based on a real life person, and asked about what elements of history appealed to him when researching the role:

"A very good friend of mine is a comedian called Barry Cryer, and when I found out I was doing this role I rang him to talk to him about it because I knew that he'd worked at the Windmill. He gave me really interesting pieces of information which I have used to help build the character." read more...

Mrs Henderson Presents
This brand new British musical has captivated audiences since opening for a try-out in Bath last year, and leading lady Emma Williams enchants in one of the central roles. Having been nominated for two previous Oliviers, Williams told us she was just delighted to be recognised once again:

"“I don't think I have a hope in hell of winning...the nomination is the thing that I think is great...when I think about the fact that it's my third I think...oh, okay. That's crazy! It is sort of ridiculous to me, but I do feel very very lucky and privileged”. read more...

People, Places and Things
With his latest play currently one of the West End's hottest tickets, we were keen to chat to Duncan about the idea behind the play and also his career which has led up to this point. Whilst humbled to be nominated for the award, Duncan was certainly pleased to be recognised:

"I'm not the most sociable person...large numbers of people and high levels of anxiety are not necessarily my cup of tea, but I've got a young kid at home so it's nice to be out the house!" read more...

The Father
One of the most powerful performances of the year, Kenneth Cranham took home the Critics' Circle Award for his role in Florian Zeller's drama, and whilst he is certainly in a crowded category, there's a high chance that he'll once again be recognised. He was last nominated for an Olivier Award in 1993, and he told us about how it felt to be the young one in a popular category:

"The last time I was at one of these things I was the young boy. I was nominated for an Olivier Award for An Inspector Calls (1993) and was up against Paul Eddington and Paul Scofield – I was the youngest one! Everyone said to me when I didn't win that I looked so happy. To be honest, I was just so happy to not have to give a speech!" read more...

In The Heights
Drew is one of the West End's brightest stars currently in ascent thanks to a number of high profile productions including this gem of a musical at the King's Cross Theatre. Whilst a number of productions at this year's award ceremony have his name attached to them, his work for In The Heights is certainly bold enough to stand up against some of the West End's biggest shows, and we certainly have our fingers crossed for what would be the first Olivier of many more to come.

"One of the things I feel most lucky about is the diversity of the work I've been offered”, he begins. “It's easy in this industry to become known for a 'thing'. I've worked on lots of shows that have been very well received and had a great response, but I haven't had one defining production yet - I don't have a 'tag-line' yet." read more...

Bend it Like Beckham
This home grown British musical was popular with critics despite running for less than a year at the Phoenix Theatre. British composer Howard Goodall found himself stretched in a brand new direction as he tackled an Indian influenced score to accompany the popular film of the same name. The show is nominated for a number of different awards, and Howard is nominated for Best Score and also Best Musical. We spoke to him about the experience of bringing a new musical to the West End:

"I've absolutely loved every moment of it – I loved the wonderful company. For me, the fabric of the piece has been a joy to work on. Much of the work has involved learning – learning about the structure and style of new music...it's just been a fantastic experience." read more...

Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Mischief Theatre company are hoping that lightning strikes twice as their second West End production finds itself nominated for the same award they won last year for 'The Play That Goes Wrong'. With a third West End production just about to open, we caught up with the company to discuss their successes:

"The highlight has to be winning the Olivier. I genuinely didn't think we'd win. I wanted us to win obviously and we deserved to be there – we had all worked really really hard. All of the guys who have got behind us even just for a second and believed in the shows, to win that was just a huge achievement for everyone." read more...

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