Patrick Stewart scooped his third Olivier award yesterday for his role as the scheming Claudius in Hamlet.
Already a winner of two Olivier awards in recent years, Stewart secured the best performance in a supporting role prize for his part in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production, which starred David Tennant in the title role.
Black Watch, which transferred from the National Theatre of Scotland to London's Barbican, was the evening's most successful production, picking up four awards – Gregory Burke for best new play; John Tiffany for best director; Steven Hoggett for best theatre choreographer; and Gareth Fry for best sound design. The production, which has toured across three continents, focuses on the Iraq conflict from the from the viewpoint of the men of the Black Watch regiment.
Nica Burns, the president of the Society of London Theatre, said: "This year's Laurence Olivier Awards are shared among a record breaking number of productions reflecting an outstanding year both on stage and at the box office.
"There was fierce competition for each nomination: congratulations to the supremely talented winners.
"London's theatre is a jewel in the crown of our capital city and its success is a reason to cheer in these uncertain times."