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Cate Blanchett makes theatre awards shortlist for first London stage performance in over a decade


Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett has been shortlisted for a major theatre award for her first stage performance in 13 years.

The Elizabeth star has been nominated for the London Evening Standard’s Natasha Richardson award for best actress for what critics called her “dazzlingly uninhibited” portrayal of Lotte in Botho Strauss’ Big & Small at the Barbican.

The Australian actress who is normally more likely to be nominated for an Oscar, also trod the boards in New York last summer in Uncle Vanya and has been the director of Sydney Theatre Company since 2008.

 She will battle it out against Eileen Atkins for All That Fall, Laurie Metcalf for Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and Hattie Morahan for A Doll’s House.

The winners will be announced by One Man, Two Guvnors star James Corden at the Savoy Hotel on 25 November 2012.

Husband and wife Adrian Lester and Lolita Chakrabarti have been separately shortlisted for Red Velvet, a biopic about African-American actor, Ira Aldridge (1807-67), at the Tricycle. Lester, who plays the title role, is nominated for best actor and Chakrabarti, who wrote the play, for the Charles Wintour Award for most promising playwright.

Two of the three shortlisted for best play are under 31: Nick Payne, 28, forConstellations, James Graham, 30, for This House. They are competing with Caryl Churchill for Love and Information.

The Young Vic is shortlisted more than any other theatre with Carrie Cracknell’s A Doll’s House and Ian Rickson’s Hamlet for best director, Miriam Buether’s Wild Swans and Ian MacNeil’s A Doll’s House for best design, and Hattie Morahan in A Doll’s House for the Natasha Richardson award.

In the Ned Sherrin Award for best musical, two of the three shortlisted are transfers from the Chichester Festival:  Singin’ in the Rain and Sweeney Todd.

“This year’s shortlist serves to remind what is so great about London’s theatre – new plays by young writers, classic drama reimagined in the most exciting ways and a host of unforgettable performances,” said Sarah Sands, Editor of the Evening Standard.

The London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2012 in association with Burberry

The shortlist in full

Best play

  • Constellations by Nick Payne (Royal Court Upstairs)
  • Love and Information by Caryl Churchill  (Royal Court Downstairs)
  • This House by James Graham (National’s Cottesloe)

Best director

  • Carrie Cracknell for A Doll’s House (Young Vic)
  • Nicholas Hytner for Timon of Athens (National’s Olivier)
  • James Macdonald for Love and Information (Royal Court Downstairs)
  • Ian Rickson for Hamlet (Young Vic)

Best actor

  • Simon Russell Beale, Collaborators (National’s Cottesloe)
  • Charles Edwards, The King’s Speech (Wyndham’s) and This House (National’s Cottesloe)
  • Adrian Lester, Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre)
  • Luke Treadaway, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, (National Theatre’s Cottesloe)

Natasha Richardson award for best actress

  • Eileen Atkins,All That Fall (Jermyn Street)
  • Cate Blanchett, Big and Small (Sydney Theatre Company for Barbican)
  • Laurie Metcalf, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Apollo)
  • Hattie Morahan, A Doll’s House (Young Vic)

Ned Sherrin award for best musical

  • Singin’ In the Rain (Chichester Festival and Palace Theatre)
  • Swallows and Amazons (A Bristol Old Vic production presented by the National Theatre in association with The Children’s Touring Partnership at the Vaudeville Theatre)
  • Sweeney Todd (Chichester Festival and Adelphi)

Best design

  • Miriam Buether, Wild Swans (A Young Vic/American Repertory Theatre/Actors Touring Company     co-production)
  • Soutra Gilmour, Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse) and Antigone (National’s Olivier)
  • Ian MacNeil, A Doll’s House (Young Vic)

Charles Wintour award for most promising playwright

  • Lolita Chakrabarti, Red Velvet (Tricycle)
  • John Hodge, Collaborators (National’s Cottesloe)
  • Tom Wells, The Kitchen Sink (Bush)

The Milton Shulman award for outstanding newcomer

  • Denise Gough, Our New Girl (Bush) and Desire Under the Elms (Lyric Hammersmith)
  • Abby Rakic-Platt, Vera Vera Vera (Royal Court Upstairs and Theatre Local Peckham)
  • Matthew Tennyson, Making Noise Quietly (Donmar Warehouse)