...for Black Watch, Scotland's winner of the Olivier Awards for Best New Play of the year - and of three other awards for Best Director, Best Theatre Choreographer and Best Sound Design. Black Watch has been described as “a squaddie's view of the Iraq war” and has been admired greatly everywhere it has been seen since its premiere at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006. The delay in Olivier recognition has been due to the rule that its awards are confined to shows put on in London's West End which Black Watch did not achieve until last summer at the Barbican. Its recognition at last is a triumph for the National Theatre of Scotland and indirectly for the whole of Britain's provincial theatre which is often more adventurous and accomplished than its London counterparts.

For once the National Theatre of London's South Bank went away almost empty-handed from the Olivier ceremony but the Royal Shakespeare Company staged a comeback with the Best Company Performance award for its productions of eight of Shakespeare's historical plays. Prolific playwright Alan Ayckbourn received a well-deserved “Special Award”.