LONDON (AP) – Women’s rights activists joined stage stars on the red carpet Sunday at British theater’s Olivier Awards, where “Hamilton” led the race for trophies with 13 nominations.
Inspired by the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment and abuse, several leading actresses brought guests from feminist groups and organizations working against domestic violence to the ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
“Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, opened in London in December. It’s 13 nominations include best new musical and best actor in a musical nods for Jamael Westman’s turn in the title role and Giles Terera’s performance as Aaron Burr.
“Hamilton” could break the awards’ record haul of nine trophies, won last year by “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
Other contenders in acting categories include Bryan Cranston for “Network,” Andrew Garfield for “Angels in America” and Imelda Staunton, nominated for both “Follies” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Jez Butterworth’s Northern Ireland drama “The Ferryman” has eight nominations and won the first prize of the night, for best new play. James Graham’s politics-themed “Labour of Love” was named best new comedy.
Named for the late British actor Laurence Olivier, the prizes honor achievements in London theater, musicals, dance and opera. Winners in most categories are chosen by a panel of stage professionals and theatergoers.
Britain’s equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards has become an increasingly glitzy affair in recent years, with prizes awarded at a black-tie ceremony studded with musical numbers.
British stage and screen stars including Michael Sheen, Alfred Molina and Imogen Poots were joined by Cuba Gooding Jr. and music stars Beverley Knight, Queen guitarist Brian May and Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood on the red carpet under a London drizzle.
Just as there was during Hollywood’s awards season, the celebration carried a somber overtone. Several leading actresses brought guests from feminist groups and organizations working against domestic violence to Sunday’s ceremony in a show of support for the Time’s Up movement.
British stage companies have recently committed to stamping out workplace abuse, after multiple allegations of sexual wrongdoing by powerful men in the entertainment industry.
London’s Old Vic Theatre said in November that it had received 20 allegations of inappropriate behavior by Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, who was its artistic director between 2004 and 2015.