Surreal thing: Cate Blanchett wins best actress nomination
Youth, smaller venues and a Hollywood star dominate the Evening Standard Theatre Awards shortlist
CATE BLANCHETT has earned a best actress nomination for her first UK stage performance in more than 13 years.
The Australian star's "dazzlingly uninhibited" portrayal of Lotte, the erratic heroine of Botho Strauss's surreal play Big & Small at the Barbican, saw her included on the shortlist for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards unveiled last night.
She'll be up against Eileen Atkins for All That Fall, Laurie Metcalf for Long Day's Journey Into Night, and Hattie Morahan for A Doll's House when the winners are announced at London's Savoy Hotel on 25 November.
Big West End shows were largely absent from a list of nominations dominated by The National Theatre, The Young Vic and the Tricycle theatre in north London.
Husband and wife Adrian Lester and Lolita Chakrabarti were both shortlisted for Red Velvet, a play about African-American actor Ira Aldridge at the Tricycle. Lester, who plays the title role, is nominated for best actor, while Chakrabarti, who wrote the play, is up for the Charles Wintour Award for most promising playwright.
Two of the three writers shortlisted for best play are under 31 notes The Independent. Nick Payne, who wrote Constellations, is 28 and James Graham, author of This House, is 30. They're up against theatre veteran Caryl Churchill for Love and Information.
The Young Vic got more nominations than any other theatre, with Morahan's performance in A Doll's House leading the way. Carrie Cracknell got a best director nod for A Doll's House and Ian Rickson is contesting the same award for Hamlet. Miriam Buether's Wild Swans and Ian MacNeil's A Doll's House are up for best design.
In the Ned Sherrin Award for best musical, two of the three shortlisted productions are transfers from the Chichester Festival: Singin' in the Rain and Sweeney Todd.
"This year's shortlist serves to remind what is so great about London's theatre – new plays by young writers, classic drama reimagined in the most exciting ways and a host of unforgettable performances," said Sarah Sands, Editor of the Evening Standard.
SHORTLIST IN FULL
Constellations by Nick Payne (Royal Court Upstairs)
Love and Information by Caryl Churchill (Royal Court Downstairs)
This House by James Graham (National's Cottesloe)
Carrie Cracknell for A Doll's House (Young Vic)
Nicholas Hytner for Timon of Athens (National's Olivier)
James Macdonald for Love and Information (Royal Court Downstairs)
Ian Rickson for Hamlet (Young Vic)
Simon Russell Beale, Collaborators (National's Cottesloe)
Charles Edwards, The King's Speech (Wyndham's) and This House (National's Cottesloe)
Adrian Lester, Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre)
Luke Treadaway, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, (National Theatre's Cottesloe)
Natasha Richardson award for best actress
Eileen Atkins, All That Fall (Jermyn Street)
Cate Blanchett, Big and Small (Sydney Theatre Company for Barbican)
Laurie Metcalf, Long Day's Journey Into Night (Apollo)
Hattie Morahan, A Doll's House (Young Vic)
Ned Sherrin award for best musical
Singin' In the Rain (Chichester Festival and Palace Theatre)
Swallows and Amazons (A Bristol Old Vic production presented by the National Theatre in association with The Children's Touring Partnership at the Vaudeville Theatre)
Sweeney Todd (Chichester Festival and Adelphi)
Miriam Buether, Wild Swans (A Young Vic/American Repertory Theatre/Actors Touring Company co-production)
Soutra Gilmour, Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse) and Antigone (National's Olivier)
Ian MacNeil, A Doll's House (Young Vic)
Charles Wintour award for most promising playwright
Lolita Chakrabarti, Red Velvet (Tricycle)
John Hodge, Collaborators (National's Cottesloe)
Tom Wells, The Kitchen Sink (Bush)
The Milton Shulman award for outstanding newcomer
Denise Gough, Our New Girl (Bush) and Desire Under the Elms (Lyric Hammersmith)
Abby Rakic-Platt, Vera Vera Vera (Royal Court Upstairs and Theatre Local Peckham)
Matthew Tennyson, Making Noise Quietly (Donmar Warehouse)