Young talent – and Olympic show –sets the Standard


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The Independent Online

At just 28, Nick Payne has become the youngest person to win the Best Play category at the 58th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

Ralph Fiennes presented the British writer with the title for his witty and inventive drama Constellations, starring Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins, at this evening's glamorous ceremony. The play, a two-hander following a couple – a beekeeper and quantum cosmologist – at different stages of their relationship, was presented by the Royal Court Upstairs.

Danny Boyle and his creative team were given the Beyond Theatre award for their spectacular and moving work on the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

The ceremony took place at the Savoy Hotel and was presented by One Man, Two Guvnors actor and comedian James Corden and co-hosted by London Evening Standard chairman and owner Evgeny Lebedev, Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey and American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

In the audience were Dame Judi Dench, Tinie Tempah, Gemma Arterton, Ruth Wilson, Ian McKellen and Colin Firth, the latter announcing Nicholas Hytner as best director for Timon of Athens. Following nearly ten years at the helm of the National Theatre, he was also given the Lebedev Special award for his dynamic directorship of the South Bank powerhouse.

Homeland actor Damian Lewis presented Hattie Morahan with the Natasha Richardson award for best actress for her moving interpretation of trapped housewife, Nora, in A Doll's House at the Young Vic.

And Simon Russell Beale was named best actor for his portrayal of Stalin in Collaborators, the blackly comic drama at the National's Cottesloe.

Following the success of new Bond film Skyfall, Judi Dench's stage work was honoured with the Moscow Art Theatre's Golden Seagull award for her contribution to world theatre.