Rachel Weisz, Michael Codron triumph at Oliviers

By Jessica Elgot, March 22, 2010
Rachel Weisz in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Donmar Warehouse.

Rachel Weisz in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Donmar Warehouse.

Rachel Weisz has won a prestigious Laurence Olivier award for her performance as fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ a Streetcar named Desire at the Donmar Warehouse.

She beat fellow Hollywood stars Gillian Anderson, Imelda Staunton and Juliet Stevenson to the award for a role which had already won her great critical acclaim.

A delighted Ms Weisz told the Olivier audience: "What a tremendous honour. It means an awful lot. I never thought I would be holding one of these in my lifetime. I'm in such prestigious company.

"To get one of these, as my father would say, the wrapping paper alone would have been enough."

Not the only Jewish winner of the night, Ms Weisz was joined by Samantha Spiro who won an award for “Best Actress in a Musical” for her performance as the title role in Hello Dolly at the Open Air theatre, Regent’s Park.

One of the West End’s most influential producers Michael Codron won the Outstanding Achievement Award.

Mr Codron, who turns 80 this year, is credited with discovering Harold Pinter, and staged his first play The Birthday Party at the Lyric Hammersmith.

He also discovered a young Joe Orton, producing both Entertaining Mr Sloane and Loot.

He also produced work by Michael Frayn, Tom Stoppard, Alan Ayckbourn, David Hare and Alan Bennett.

Last updated: 5:36pm, March 22 2010