Actress wins award for Hamlet role

Gillian Bevan is pictured collecting her Best Supporting Actress award at the Manchester Theatre Awards last Friday. NNL-150317-181449001
Gillian Bevan is pictured collecting her Best Supporting Actress award at the Manchester Theatre Awards last Friday. NNL-150317-181449001

Stage actress and Swalcliffe resident Gillian Bevan picked up a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in the Shakespeare play Hamlet.

The tragedy, which is being released in cinemas across the country on Monday, stars Maxine Peake in the leading role with Ms Bevan playing the male character Polonius, which was changed to Polonia in Sarah Frankcom’s production.

She picked up the Best Supporting Actress award last Friday at the Manchester Theatre Awards held at the Royal Exchange.

Ms Bevan said: “The nominations for the awards were made in January and I was actually up for the award with Claire Benedict, who played the role of Marcella and The Player King. She is absolutely fantastic and in my speech I said I would share this award with her.”

The play has already drawn rave reviews for Peake’s performance, and Ms Bevan says the production changed some of the audience’s perception of Shakespeare plays, with the number of women playing male roles increasing.

She said: “I think there is a place for doing the traditional costumes which has been done at the Globe Theatre in London but lots of young people are now coming to the theatre, and especially to this production because of Maxine.

“There was a group of sixth form students in the audience when we performed it in Manchester and they had never seen Shakespeare before; it was wonderful to get the reactions we did. I am very proud to be part of this.”

Mrs Bevan has starred in many television roles over the years, including Teachers, Holby City and Doctors. She played Mrs Wilkinson in the West End production of Billy Elliot and Mrs Nellie Lovett in Sweeney Todd.

She will be doing a special introduction ahead of the screening of Hamlet on Monday at the Stratford-upon-Avon Picturehouse, and described the play as ‘fast and furious’.

She added: “It is a real fast-paced story and has got a bit of everything in it. It has elements of Game of Thrones as well as Breaking Bad and the body count is really quite high! It makes you think a lot about morality and how to live your life as well.”

For more information or to book tickets visit http://tickets.picturehouseentertain ment.co.uk/gb/