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'We've missed you,' Camilla tells actors at Olivier stage awards

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Duchess of Cornwall urged theatre actors to stay strong in the face of pandemic adversity as she presented lyricist Don Black with the Special Olivier Award at a virtual ceremony on Sunday evening.

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“I should like to thank those of you whose profession is in the theatre for your determination and your flexibility,” the wife of Prince Charles said. “Please remain resilient – we need you and we have missed you.”

London’s theatres have in theory been able to open to socially distanced audiences since mid-August, but only a handful have done so.

Black received his award for a body of work including the James Bond theme songs he co-wrote with composer John Barry for “Thunderball” and “Diamonds Are Forever”.

Among other recipients of Oliver awards, Ian McKellen was recognised for his 80th birthday solo tour while Sharon D. Clarke was named best actress.

Clarke won for her performance in the Young Vic theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s “Death Of A Salesman”, while best actor was Andrew Scott in Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter” at the Old Vic.

“Dear Evan Hansen,” the story of a lonely student who fabricates a friendship with a dead boy, won the best new musical award. The Jamie Lloyd Company won best revival for its production of Cyrano De Bergerac at the Playhouse Theatre.

McKellen’s one-man touring show includes a reading from Lord of the Rings, anecdotes about his Shakespeare days, and a revival of his pantomime dame Widow Twankey. It was his seventh Olivier award.

Another repeat winner was choreographer Matthew Bourne who collected his ninth, making him the individual with the most Olivier awards. Bourne won best theatre choreographer alongside Stephen Mear for “Mary Poppins”.

Established in 1976, the awards named after legendary actor Laurence Olivier are Britain’s most prestigious stage honours.

Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by David Holmes

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