Olivier Awards for Kenneth Branagh and Jamie Parker
Published: 10 April 2017
RADA President and graduate Sir Kenneth Branagh was presented with the Special Award at the 2017 Olivier Awards on Sunday, for his outstanding contribution to British theatre. Alumnus Jamie Parker also won Best Actor, while Glenda Jackson and Kate O'Flynn were also nominated in the acting categories.
Since graduating from RADA in 1981, and winning the Olivier Award for Best Newcomer in 1982, Branagh's career has spanned stage and screen, as a performer, director, producer and screenwriter, from Shakespeare's Henry V and Hamlet to Marvel Studios's Thor, which he directed in 2011. In October 2015 Branagh Theatre company was launched, presenting a year-long season of shows at the West End's Garrick Theatre and featuring many RADA alumni. Most recently, Branagh has worked on film projects including Dunkirk (due for release in July 2017) and his new adaptation of Murder On The Orient Express (due for release in November 2017).
In October 2016, RADA appointed Branagh as its president, following the death of Lord Richard Attenborough in 2014. It is the second special recognition award for Branagh in recent months, as he also received the Lebedev Award at November's Evening Standard Awards in recognition of the inaugural Branagh Theatre season. The Evening Standard Award was presented by fellow RADA alumnus Tom Hiddleston, while on Sunday RADA alumnus Sir Mark Rylance presented Branagh with his Olivier Award.
In the Best Actor category, Jamie Parker won the award for his performance in the title role as the now grown-up boy wizard in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Overall, the show won a record nine awards out of its 11 nominations, including Best Director and Best New Play.
Also nominated were RADA alumnae Glenda Jackson, in the Best Actress category for her acclaimed stage comeback in the title role of King Lear at the Old Vic; and Kate O'Flynn, who was up for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as Laura in The Glass Menagerie. Nice Fish, which was written by and starred Sir Mark Rylance, was also in the running for Best New Comedy.
The 2017 Olivier Awards took place at the Royal Albert Hall, and will be broadcast on ITV on Tuesday 11 April (8pm). Click here for the full list of winners.