Imelda Staunton wins theatre award for Gypsy musical performance
Imelda Staunton has won best performance in a musical for her role in Gypsy at the UK Theatre Awards 2015.
The show is loosely based on famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee and features music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
The acclaimed 59-year-old plays Momma Rose, the archetypal showbusiness mother, in the production which transferred to London's West End after a successful run in Chichester.
Reviews for Gypsy, which also won best musical production at the UK Theatre Awards, have been very good, but critics have especially lauded Staunton's performance.
Variety said the 59-year-old gives "a helluva performance" and The Guardian hailed " a superb piece of acting".
The UK Theatre Awards honour outstanding achievement in performing, producing and management in theatres throughout the country, the only awards ceremony to do so.
Dame Eileen Atkins was awarded the prestigious Gielgud Award for excellence in the dramatic arts.
The veteran of stage and screen is best known for co-creating Upstairs Downstairs and The House Of Eliott with Jean Marsh. Dame Eileen has worked across theatre, film and television since the 1950s.
Choreographer Matthew Bourne received The Stage award for outstanding contribution to British theatre.
The awards were presented at London's historic Guildhall, with a performance from the cast of The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole and appearances from guest presenters.
Other winners included Gary Owen's Iphigenia In Splott which took home best new play.
Best performance in a play was shared by Polly Lister for Abigail's Party and Joel MacCormack for Each His Own Wilderness.
The award for best supporting performance was given to Justine Mitchell in For Services Rendered.
Ned Bennett received the award for best director for Pomona, while best touring production was won by Twelfth Night, a co-production between English Touring Theatre and Sheffield Theatres.
Best show for children and young people went to Running Wild, a Chichester Festival Youth Theatre production.
Best design was won by Dick Bird, Timothy Bird and Paul Keogan for The Hudsucker Proxy.
The Clothworkers' Theatre Award, given as part of The Clothworkers' Foundation's five-year £1.25 million programme to support the dramatic arts, was given to York Theatre Royal.
Rachel Tackley, president of UK Theatre, said: "The winners of this year's awards clearly demonstrate the creative strength and vibrancy of theatre across the whole of the United Kingdom. Theatres are an integral part of our local communities and these awards not only celebrate performers and theatre makers but also the venues and the teams that run them.
"At a time when national and local arts funding is under severe threat, it is more important than ever that we celebrate the incredible work our theatres are producing."
A full list of winners is available online at www.uktheatre.org/awards