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First ever Olivier award for a transgender themed play

For the first time a transgender-themed play has won an Olivier award.

Rotterdam, the story of a lesbian couple, one of whom comes out as a transgender man, won the award for outstanding achievement in an affiliate theatre.

The play, which is now set to make its New York debut, explores the couple’s relationship between their sexuality and gender identity.

Anna Martine Freeman, who plays the transgender character, told PinkNews: “I’m over the moon that Rotterdam has won tonight.

“From what I’ve been told, the play is the first transgender themed performance to ever be nominated at the Olivier Awards.

“To win this prestigious accolade brings us one step closer to taking LGBTQIA+ narratives out of the awnings and into the mainstream, where they can be enjoyed by everyone.

“Next month we’re taking this wonderful, heart-warming and funny story to a new audience in New York.

“It’s had such impact in the UK – I still have people coming up to me saying how moved they were – and with everything going on, I’d love for Rotterdam to have a larger effect on ‘inclusion’ and ‘understanding’ around the world.”

Sir Ian McKellen, who recently opened up about growing up gay in an emotional video, was nominated for Best Actor, but lost out to Jamie Parker, the History Boy alumnus who played grown-up Harry Potter.

It comes after Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night has been given a lesbian twist thanks to a new National Theatre production.

Simon Godwin’s production of the Shakespeare comedy recently opened at the National Theatre, with a cast including Episodes star Tamsin Greig.

Greig takes on the role of the usually-male puritanical steward Malvolio, who is tricked into believing his boss is in love with him.

However, in Godwin’s production the character is gender-flipped as Malvolia – a change that brings a distinct lesbian element to the 415-year-old story.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Greig praised the fluid nature of gender in theatre, adding that now “there is no part that a woman can’t do”.

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