Hooray...for The Oliviers!

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The rain didn’t dampen the spirits in West London on Sunday night, as the Royal Albert Hall played host to the 2018.  Its a well deserved night off for the performers and creators; to swap their costumes for red carpet glam and celebrate everything that is great about the UK theatre.

And what an amazing year its has been for British theatre, with over a staggering 15 million of us taking in a show, the highest in over 30 years.  Proving that in an era of remoting recording and downloading entertainment, there really is something about a live performance that cannot be recreated. 

Hamilton was the biggest winner of the night, taking home seven awards.  Not only did it impress the voters but the audience were treated to a mighty opening performance, as the cast showed us why when you do get to see the show, it is most definitely worth the wait.  

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Highlights for me included Bryan Cranston winning for Network and Jez Butterworth's acceptance speech for The Ferryman as he expressed his concern for the quality of the award in light his last (received some 22 years previously) having fallen apart - only leaving him with the Olivier part of the statue.  Let's hope this one is more robust. 

This year, the awards partnered with the Times Up Movement and many of the winners used the stage as a platform to express their solidarity for change and equal representation across the industry. 

As well as recognising talent with awards, there was the chance to watch some sensational talent with performances from the shows.  42nd Street had the audience's whipped into a frenzy with their toe taping action whilst Everybody's Talking About Jamie raised the roof with their electric energy.  The finale came from the past stars of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat - including Jason Donovan and Lee Mead - to mark the 50th anniversary of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical.

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However it would be completely remiss of me not to mention, Sheila Atim's performance of Bob Dylan's 'Tight Connection to My Heart'  from The Girl from The North Country.  Her sublime vocals effortlessly reverberated around the hall, bringing the audience to its feet - only for her to collect the award for 'Best Supporting Actress in a Musical' moments later...truly deserved. 

'The Olivier Awards: The Biggest Night in British Theatre' is available to watch on ITV Player