Olivier Awards 2017: See all the actresses up for top honours

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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Now the whirl of Best Dressed lists and Nicole Kidman clapping memes have faded from internet memory, you’d be forgiven for thinking awards season was finished for another year. Far from it; the build-up to theatre’s biggest night, the Olivier Awards, is only just beginning. Nominations were announced this week and surprise! There’s a wealth of female talent up for the top honours, 

From Billie Piper’s barnstorming turn as the tragic ‘Her’ in Yerma, to Noma Dumezweni bringing adult Hermione Granger to sparkling life in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories are stuffed with fearsome performances. Catch up on the nominees ahead of the official ceremony, broadcasting from the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 7th April. 


  • Best Actress: Billie Piper, Yerma

    Ms. Piper has already racked up four Best Actress awards this season for her heart-breaking performance in Yerma, which translates as ‘barren’ in playwright Federico García Lorca’s native Spanish. The laurels are well-deserved; her interpretation of a woman whose all-consuming desire for a child destroys everything she holds dear, has been lauded universally by critics as ‘earth-quaking.’

    Photo credit: Johan Persson

  • Best Actress: Ruth Wilson, Hedda Gabler

    Ruth Wilson has recently slammed the surfeit of ‘two-dimensional’ characters available for female actors. Thanks goodness then for Henrik Ibsen’s classic Hedda Gabler, which has given her something to really sink her teeth into. Petulant, manipulative, dissatisfied and lonely, the complexity of Hedda Gabler’s titlular heroine provides Wilson with enough material to deliver a performance for the ages. 

    Photo credit: Jan Versweyveld

  • Best Actress: Glenda Jackson, King Lear

    Returning to the stage after a 25 absence, former MP Glenda Jackson radiates furious energy as the tortured monarch of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Her triumphant comeback was received with a critical consensus: at 80 years old, Jackson very much still has it. 

    Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

  • Best Actress: Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie

    Cherry Jones created the role of Amanda Wingfield in the original 2013 Broadway run of John Tiffany’s take on the Tennessee Williams work, and her revival of the part across the pond was equally celebrated. Jones’ fretting former Southern Belle is a masterly study in the trouble wrought by allowing past glories to overwhelm the present.

    Photo credit: Johan Persson

  • Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Allan, Caroline Deyga, Kirsty Findlay, Karen Fishwick, Kirsty MacLaren, Frances Mayli McCann, Joanne McGuinness and Dawn Sievewright, Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour

    Sharing an award between six may seem unorthodox but if anyone deserves it, it’s the cast of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succor. Their rollicking portrayal of a group of Catholic schoolgirls let loose in Edinburgh for one night, adapted from Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos, has been delighting audiences and critics alike, attracting effusive praise from all. 

    Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

  • Best Supporting Actress: Kate O'Flynn- The Glass Menagerie

    Playing alongside Best Actress nominated Cherry Jones, Kate O’Flynn has also been gathering plaudits for her portrayal of the fragile Laura, whose obsession with her collection of glass animals gives the play its famous plaudits. 

    Photo credit: Johan Persson 

  • Best Supporting Actress: Clare Foster, Travesties

    Appearing as the jolly Cecily in this early Tom Stoppard play-within-a-play, Clare Foster has been winning hearts for her comedic chops and lively interpretation of the ‘hockey-sticks-ingenue.’ 

    Photo credit: Johan Persson

  • Best Supporting Actress: Noma Dumezweni, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

    Taking on one of the most famous characters in popular literature was always going to come with huge pressure. Yet Noma Dumezweni didn’t buckle, instead shining as the adult Hermione in the latest Harry Potter installment that mixes spell-binding magic with an emotional rumination on family and legacies. 

    Photo credit: Manuel Harlan


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Moya Lothian-McLean

Moya Lothian-McLean is a freelance writer with an excessive amount of opinions. She tweets @moya_lm.