Stevenage actor brings home Olivier award for Hamilton performance

Stevenage actor Giles Terera won an Olivier award for Best Actor in a Muscial for his performance in

Stevenage actor Giles Terera won an Olivier award for Best Actor in a Muscial for his performance in Hamilton. Picture: Pamela Raith - Credit: Archant

Stevenage’s Giles Terera has said “it has been the joy of his life and career” to work for such a diverse theatre company after being named best musical actor at the Olivier Awards.

Giles Terera, who grew up in Stevenage, won the Best Actor in a Musical award on Sunday for his performance in a leading role of the Victoria Palace Theatre’s production of Hamilton, where he plays the title character’s rival Aaron Burr.

Hamilton tells the story of United States founding father Alexander Hamilton and incorporates rap, hip-hop and rhythm and blues style music. The play is notably colour-conscious, known for its casting of non-white actors as historical figures.

Giles’ twin sister Nikki Austin, who still lives in Stevenage, told the Comet: “We are of course immensely proud of his hard work, dedication and all of his achievements to date in his career.

“Time and time again Stevenage is portrayed and talked about in a negative light, but I would hope that young people who have ambition and aspire to make something of their lives can look at the many people who – like Giles – have come from the town and have achieved success, and know that with hard work and dedication they too can prosper.”

Giles noted in his speech the importance of diversity, stating: “It’s been the joy of my life and career to be a part of the most diverse company I have ever seen. The company is made up of as different people as you can think of because it’s the best way to tell the story.

“Diversity is not a policy, diversity is life. London theatre-makers, you have no excuse.”

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The actor – who went to Longmeadow Primary, Burydale JMI and Heathcote schools in Stevenage – also travelled the world interviewing actors about Shakespeare for a BBC documentary Muse of Fire.

Hamilton won the most awards of any show, bringing home seven altogether including Best New Musical.

Among the winners was also Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston – who took home the Best Actor Olivier for his performance in Network at National Theatre Lyttelton –and Sam Mendes, known for directing James Bond blockbusters Skyfall and Spectre, who won the Best Director category for The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.