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Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress

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Awarded for  Best Actress in a Play
Official website  Olivier
Location  United Kingdom
Category of  Laurence Olivier Award
Currently held by  Denise Gough for People, Places and Things (2016)
Presented by  The Society of London Theatre
People also search for  Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical
Winners & Nominees  Cherry JonesThe Glass Menagerie, Cherry Jones, Nominee, Glenda JacksonKing Lear, Glenda Jackson, Nominee, Billie PiperYerma, Billie Piper, Nominee, Ruth WilsonHedda Gabler, Ruth Wilson, Nominee, Denise GoughPeople - Places and Things, Denise Gough, Winner, Janet McTeerLes Liaisons Dangereuses, Janet McTeer, Nominee, Gemma ArtertonNell Gwynn, Gemma Arterton, Nominee, Lia WilliamsOresteia, Lia Williams, Nominee, Nicole KidmanPhotograph 51, Nicole Kidman, Nominee, Penelope WiltonTaken at Midnight, Penelope Wilton, Winner, Imelda StauntonGood People, Imelda Staunton, Nominee, Gillian AndersonA Streetcar Named Desire, Gillian Anderson, Nominee, Kristin Scott ThomasElectra, Kristin Scott Thomas, Nominee, Lesley ManvilleGhosts, Lesley Manville, Winner, Hayley AtwellThe Pride, Hayley Atwell, Nominee, Anna ChancellorPrivate Lives, Anna Chancellor, Nominee, Judi DenchPeter and Alice, Judi Dench, Nominee, Helen MirrenThe Audience, Helen Mirren, Winner, Billie PiperThe Effect, Billie Piper, Nominee, Kristin Scott ThomasOld Times, Kristin Scott Thomas, Nominee, Hattie MorahanA Doll's House, Hattie Morahan, Nominee

The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play is an annual award presented by The Society of London Theatre in recognition of achievements in commercial British theatre. The awards were established as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, and, renamed in 1984 in honour of English actor Lord Olivier.


The award has been known by its current name of Best Actress since 1993, previously it was known as Actress of the Year. From 1976-1984 and again in 1988, there were two Actress of the Year awards. One for Actress of the Year in a New Play and the other for Actress of the Year in a Revival.

Multiple awards and nominations for Best Actress

Note: The below awards and nominations include individuals awarded and nominated under the now-defunct categories Actress of the Year in a New Play and Actress of the Year in a Revival as well as the current combined Best Actress category.


Four awards
  • Judi Dench
  • Three awards
  • Clare Higgins
  • Two awards
  • Eileen Atkins
  • Lindsay Duncan
  • Fiona Shaw
  • Frances de la Tour
  • Dorothy Tutin
  • Margaret Tyzack
  • Zoë Wanamaker
  • Nominations

    Nine nominations
  • Judi Dench
  • Six nominations
  • Penelope Wilton
  • Five nominations
  • Eileen Atkins
  • Glenda Jackson
  • Kristin Scott Thomas
  • Juliet Stevenson
  • Zoë Wanamaker
  • Four nominations
  • Sinéad Cusack
  • Lindsay Duncan
  • Clare Higgins
  • Janet McTeer
  • Helen Mirren
  • Diana Rigg
  • Fiona Shaw
  • Maggie Smith
  • Harriet Walter
  • Three nominations
  • Joan Plowright
  • Vanessa Redgrave
  • Imelda Staunton
  • Frances de la Tour
  • Two nominations
  • Gillian Anderson
  • Eve Best
  • Yvonne Bryceland
  • Pauline Collins
  • Susan Fleetwood
  • Tamsin Greig
  • Victoria Hamilton
  • Rosemary Harris
  • Kathryn Hunter
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Jane Lapotaire
  • Rosemary Leach
  • Lesley Manville
  • Geraldine McEwan
  • Billie Piper
  • Kelly Reilly
  • Alison Steadman
  • Janet Suzman
  • Dorothy Tutin
  • Margaret Tyzack
  • Julie Walters
  • Lia Williams
  • Ruth Wilson
  • References

    Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress Wikipedia