Olivier Awards 2014: Lesley Manville beats Judi Dench to win Best Actress award for Ghosts

The actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a 'beautiful adaptation'

Lesley Manville has won the Olivier for Best Actress for her role in Ibsen’s Ghosts.

The actress, who plays widower Helene Alving in the revival, beat Judi Dench (Peter and Alice), Hayley Atwell (The Pride) and Anna Chancellor (Private Lives) to take the award.

Olivier Awards: Winners list in full

Ghosts, which is nominated for five Oliviers, opened to universal acclaim last year.

It originally played at the Almeida theatre in Islington before transferring to Trafalgar Studios in the West End, where it finished its run last month.

Accepting her award, Manville said: “I am so happy, I am beside myself with happiness. Love to my fellow nominees were are not just talented, but lovely women.”

She went on to thank director Richard Eyre, who adapted the play for the production.

“My thanks to Richard Eyre, he wrote a beautiful adaptation and cast it brilliantly…Richard, you masterminded such a beautiful and rare piece of theatre. We all loved you, you know that, and we created something very special.”

Will Keen (Pastor Manders) and Lesley Manville (Helene Alving) in Ghosts Will Keen and Lesley Manville in 'Ghosts'

Speaking backstage, she praised the Almeida for taking the play on.

“Subsidised theatre by its very nature can take risks, and the Almeida does that brilliantly."

On the question that it was about time she won, she joked: “You may say that I couldn’t possibly comment.”

She added she had “post-Ghosts blues” since the play ended its run three weeks ago.

“I miss it terribly, but this has cheered me up no end, thank you.”

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