Denise goes from applying for a cleaning job to being named best actress at West End 'Oscars'
Published 05/04/2016 | 02:30
Last year she was applying for work as a cleaner, now Irish actress Denise Gough is the toast of the London stage.
She scooped the Best Actress gong at the glitzy 40th Annual Olivier Awards on a night that the red carpet was turned green with a string of Irish winners.
"I'm having the time of my life," the 36-year-old Wexford woman told the audience at London's Royal Opera House as she accepted the honour.
She took the award for her powerful performance as an alcoholic actress in rehab in the West End play 'People, Places and Things'. Denise triumphed over such stellar performers as Gemma Arterton and Nicole Kidman.
During her speech, she also took the opportunity to remark that she was "disappointed" at the all-white shortlist in her category, highlighting the work of Noma Dumezweni, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Sharon D Clarke, who missed out on nominations.
Afterwards the Irish woman said of her precarious profession: "I had a year out of work before this job... I applied to be a cleaner this time last year. That's not joking.
"That's the truth for many jobbing actors and actresses."
Meanwhile, renowned London Irish playwright Martin McDonagh won Best New Play for his black comedy 'Hangman'.
It also took the Best Set Design Award.
McDonagh was born in London to Irish parents, and his previous plays and films include 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane','In Bruges' and 'Seven Psychopaths'.
Irish actor and writer Pat Kinevane and Fishamble Theatre won an Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre award for his performance in 'Silent', a play about homelessness, at London's Soho Theatre.
Kinevane has written and performed for many years in Ireland, including on stage, and in TV and films, including 'King Arthur', 'Ballykissangel' and 'I Keano'.
Actess Imelda Staunton, who was born in England to first-generation emigrants from Co Mayo, won Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in 'Gypsy'.
The Olivier Awards, given out by the Society of London Theatre, are regarded as the Oscars of the city's stage scene.
Dame Judi Dench made history when she took the best actress in a supporting role award for her part in 'The Winter's Tale'.
She has now won more Oliviers for acting than any other performer.
President Michael D Higgins said the Irish success in the awards was a "great recognition" of the industry here.
Arts Minister Heather Humphreys described Gough as a "rising star of stage and screen" and McDonagh as "one of our finest screen writers".