Ugandan-born actress Sheila Atim has taken home the Laurence Oliver Award for best actress in a supporting role for the Hip Hop musical Hamilton.
To lift the prestigious trophy, Atim had to beat fellow Hamilton actress Rachel John, Follies actress Tracie Bennett and Young Frakenstein actress Lesley Joseph.
Hamilton is an American musical that uses the Hip Hop art form of rap to explore the life of one of the founding fathers of the USA Alexander Hamilton. The musical was inspired by a 2004 biography of Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow.
The Laurence Olivier Awards, or simply the Olivier Awards, are presented annually by the Society of London Theatre to recognise excellence in professional theatre in London at an annual ceremony in the capital. The awards were originally known as the Society of West End Theatre Awards, but they were renamed in honour of the British actor Laurence Olivier in 1984.
The awards are given to individuals involved in West End productions and other leading non-commercial theatres based in London across a range of categories covering plays, musicals, dance, opera and affiliate theatre.
The award has been in existence since 1976. The Olivier awards are highly respected and winning one opens more doors for the actor. Famous Olivier award winners include designer William Dudley, Judi Dench and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Atim moved to England when she was one year old with her mother and was raised in Essex. The 26-year-old actress did not consider acting her main calling. Instead Atim was intent on a medical career and graduated from the biomedical science department of King’s College, London, in 2013. Only after her degree did she let herself become more involved in the theatre.
Atim joins a growing list of Ugandan born actors who making their name on the international acting circuit. Recently Ugandan born actors Daniel Kaluuya and Florence Kasumba attracted special attention for their strong performances in the blockbuster movie Black Panther.