Words: Will Stroude
Jonathan Bailey touched on the row over LGBT-inclusive education currently engulfing schools in England as he accepted the Olivier Award for 'Best Supporting Actor in a Musical' for his gender-swapped role in Company on Sunday (7 April).
The Broadchurch actor, 30, highlighted the importance of LGBT representation in the arts as picked up the prestigious award in London, where Company was one of the night's biggest winners, taking home four awards.
Bailey's scene-stealing turn in Company saw him play Jamie, a man getting cold feet on his wedding day. With the part having been written as a woman - Amy - in Stephen Sondheim's original 1970 production, his casting added a LGBT twist on proceedings.
Accepting the Olivier Award at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night, Bailey he was proud the show had included a "celebratory shapshot of gay love" as the row over LGBT-inclusive lessons at schools in Birmingham and elsewhere threatens to diminish LGBT visibility.
"At a time where acknowledging the very existence of LGBT people in our schools is being questioned, we have been able to, as a company, show a lovely and celebratory snapshot of gay love," he said.
Jonathan, who helped organise a charity performance of Company to benefit LGBT youth homelessness charity akt during the show's six-month run at the Gielgud Theatre, added: "LGBT people are not that different - we're just as anxious and just as flawed and just as desperate to fall in love as everyone else."
The actor's Olivier Award win was one of four on the night for Company, which along with Matthew Lopez's gay stage epic The Inheritance was one of the ceremony's most decorated shows.
The Marianne Elliott-directed revival also took home awards for 'Best Set Design', 'Best Musical Revival', and the 'Best Supporting Actress in a Musical' prize for legendary stage and screen star Patti LuPone, who recently joined the second season of Ryan Murphy's queer drama Pose.
Meanwhile, The Inheritance - the seven-hour epic charting the interlocking lives of gay men in New York - also took home four awards, including 'Best New Play', 'Best Actor' for lead Kyle Soller, 'Best Director' for Stephen Daldry and Best Lighting Design.
Check out the full list of winners from the Olivier Awards 2019 below - and for great deals on tickets for shows click here.
Best new play - The Inheritance
Best new musical - Come From Away
Best new comedy - Home, I'm Darling
Best revival - Summer and Smoke
Best musical revival - Company
Best director - Stephen Daldry (The Inheritance)
Best actor - Kyle Soller (The Inheritance)
Best actress - Patsy Ferran (Summer and Smoke)
Best supporting actor - Chris Walley (The Lieutenant of Inishmore)
Best supporting actress - Monica Dolan (All About Eve)
Best actor in a musical - Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Tina: The Musical)
Best actress in a musical - Sharon D Clarke (Caroline or Change)
Best supporting actor in a musical - Jonathan Bailey (Company)
Best supporting actress in a musical - Patti LuPone (Company)
Best entertainment and family - A Monster Calls
Best set design - Bunny Christie (Company)
Best lighting - Jon Clark (The Inheritance)
Best new dance production - Blkdog
Best new opera - Katya Kabanova at Royal Opera House
Best costume design - Catherine Zuber (The King and I)
Best sound design - Gareth Owen (Come From Away)
Best theatre choreographer - Kelly Devine (Come From Away)
Outstanding achievement in music - Come From Away
Outstanding achievement in dance: Akram Khan (Xenos)
Outstanding achievement in opera - The ensemble of Porgy and Bess at London Coliseum
Outstanding achievement in affiliate theatre - Flesh and Bone at Soho theatre
Special award - Matthew Bourne