Wolverhampton born singer and actress Beverley Knight won an award at the this year’s Olivier Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Emmeline Pankhurst in Sylvia, which is running at the Old Vic in London.
During her speech, Beverley Knight praised theatre, which is becoming more accessible and inclusive. She said: “A show like Sylvia makes theatre accessible. We are diverse on stage and I love that I look out and see diversity in age, in race and most likely in [theatregoers’] financial situations, too. I give absolute respect to the Old Vic for that.
“You cannot stop the march of where theatre is going and I’m telling you I am so here for it.”
She also took the opportunity to acknowledge those who had nurtured her career. “I got this award because of good, diligent people who gave up their time, and their money, to get 11-year-old Beverley on a stage at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre to live out her absolute dream … If it wasn’t for Wolverhampton Youth Theatre I wouldn’t be stood here. They gave me the tools.”
Beverley Knight won her award in Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, up against Maimuna Memon, who plays Nikki in the National Theatre production of Standing at the Sky’s Edge at the Olivier Theatre, and Liza Sadovy and Marisha Wallace, both for performances in the Young Vic’s Oklahoma!. This is the third time Knight has been nominated for an Olivier Award but the first time the actress has won.
The full list of winners across all the awards can be found on the Official London Theatre website.