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Stoppard called 'greatest living playwright' at London theater awards

By Michael Roddy

LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Tom Stoppard was given a special award as "the greatest living playwright" on Sunday at the 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in recognition of more than a half century of work that has won him an Academy Award and four Tony Awards.

The 77-year-old Czech-born author, whose plays include "Arcadia", "The Real Thing" and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", also co-wrote the screenplays for the movies "Shakespeare in Love", "Brazil" and "The Russia House".

"The James Plays", a seven-and-a-half hour trilogy by Rona Munro based on the lives of the first three King Jameses of Scotland, was named best play.

A collaboration between the National Theatre in London and the National Theatre of Scotland, the trilogy starred Jamie Sives of "Game of Thrones" fame and Sofie Grabol, star of the Danish TV thriller "The Killing", and took on added relevance for being staged in the same year as the failed Scottish independence referendum.

Tom Hiddleston was named Best Actor for the title role of Shakespeare's "Coriolanus" at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London. Gillian Anderson was named Best Actress for her performance as Blanche DuBois in a revival of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Young Vic.

The award for best musical went to "The Scottsboro Boys", a Broadway transfer staged in London by the Old Vic and the Garrick Theatre.

The nod for best director went to Jeremy Herrin for his stagings of plays based on Hilary Mantel's best-selling historical novels "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies", produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company's Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Aldwych Theatre in London.

Actress Laura Jane Matthewson won the Emerging Talent award for her performance in "Dogfight", a misogyny drama presented at the Southwark Playhouse about U.S. Marines vying to pick up the ugliest woman.

The Best Design award went to Es Devlin for her stage design for "American Psycho" at the Almeida Theatre, while the award for most promising playwright went to Beth Steel for "Wonderland" at the Hampstead Theatre.

Singer Kate Bush received the Editor's Award for her "Before the Dawn" comeback concerts in London, staged 35 years after her last previous live performance.

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