30 November 1996: The Times

Dame Diana Takes Centre Stage

Dame Diana Rigg won a further accolade in her glittering career when she and Paul Scofield took the top awards at the Evening Standard Drama Awards yesterday.

Dame Diana was voted best actress for the second time in four years for her work in Mother Courage and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Scofield won best actor for his towering performance in the title role of John Gabriel Borkman at the National Theatre. Also present at the ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in the West End were Dame Maggie Smith, Jessica Lange and Tom Courtenay.

Dame Diana, 58, said her career had got easier as she got older. "They do say the profession gets increasingly difficult but my career seems to have been inside out. I'm playing the bigger parts now that I'm older. That's probably right because I wasn't ready for them before so I'm grateful for them now." She added: "Stage work is very tiring and it eats into your life, so I'd like to do more television and films."

Sean Connery presented the award to Dame Diana. His last appearance on a West End stage was 40 years ago in the chorus of South Pacific. The play he co-produced, Yasmina Reza's Art , was named best comedy. Other winners included: best play, Stanley by Pam Gems; best musical, Passion by Stephen Sondheim; best director, Katie Mitchell for The Phoenician Woman.

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