Sir Kenneth Branagh bags special prize at the Olivier Awards

Renowned actor Sir Kenneth Branagh will be honoured for his contribution to theatre with a special prize at this year’s Olivier Awards.

Best known for his impressive portfolio of roles in Shakespeare classics such as Hamlet, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night, his career has also seen him conquer the big screen.

As well as playing the laughable professor Gilderoy Lockhart in the second Harry Potter film and taking on the role of Kurt Wallander in the Wallander TV series, he also stars in upcoming releases Dunkirk and Murder On The Orient Express.

The Special Award, has previously been won by the likes of Judi Dench, Kevin Spacey and Sir Ian McKellen.

For Sir Kenneth it will mark a particularly significant moment in his career, coming 35 years after the Olivier Awards named him best newcomer in 1982.

Since then he has claimed four Bafta Awards and secured four Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.

Also an acclaimed director, he recently set up the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, bringing star-studded casts to the stage for more Shakespeare tales, including The Winter’s Tale and Romeo And Juliet.

Caro Newling, president of the Society of London Theatre, which organises the awards, said: “We are delighted to formally celebrate Kenneth Branagh’s outstanding contribution to London theatre. Whether acting or directing, there is no greater advocate for our industry.”

:: Sir Kenneth will be presented with his award on Sunday April 9, at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Official nominations for the Olivier Awards with Mastercard will be live-streamed at 12pm on Monday.

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