Olivier Awards 2016: Judi Dench Scoops A Record Eighth Award

Judi Dench and Mark Gatiss at Olivier Awards
Mark Gatiss and Judi Dench pose in the winners' room at the Olivier Awards at the Royal Opera House in London, April 3, 2016. Dench became a record-setting eight-time winner. Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Judi Dench became a record-setting eight-time Olivier Award winner at the annual theatre awards on Sunday night.

The 81-year-old actor was awarded the Best Supporting Actress prize for her role opposite Kenneth Branagh in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. She is now the most decorated winner in the award show's 40-year history.

"I'm rather overcome. I didn't expect it. It feels terrific," she told BBC News.

Elsewhere, Denise Gough and Kenneth Cranham were named Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively.

Irish star Gough—who won for her part in play People, Places and Things—highlighted the lack of diversity in her category, following recent furore over the Oscars in February. She used her acceptance speech to note that she was "sad" about the distinct lack of minority actors in the Best Actress field populated by white actors including Nicole Kidman and Gemma Arterton.

Cranham shed a tear as he won the Best Actor award for his part in The Father, directed by James Macdonald.

Best Supporting Actor was won by Sherlock screenwriter-and-actor Mark Gatiss for his role in Three Days in the Country. "I'm absolutely overwhelmed, I can't tell you what this means to me. It was an amazing performance and a gift of a part. I'm thrilled to bits, thank you very much," he said.

On the musical side of things, Imelda Staunton was awarded Best Actress for Gypsy and Matt Henry won Best Actor for Kinky Boots, which also took home Best New Musical.

The Audience Award, the only award voted for by the public, was won by The Phantom of the Opera.

Stars including James Norton, Uzo Aduba, Kit Harington, Rose Leslie, Amber Riley, Brian May and Cyndi Lauper attended the awards held at London's Royal Opera House.

Olivier Awards 2016—selected winners:

Best Actor: Kenneth Cranham, The Father

Best Actress: Denise Gough, People, Places and Things

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Gatiss, Three Days in the Country

Best Supporting Actress: Judi Dench, The Winter's Tale

Best Actor in a Musical: Matt Henry, Kinky Boots

Best Actress in a Musical: Imelda Staunton, Gypsy

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: David Bedella, In the Heights

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Lara Pulver, Gypsy

Best Musical Revival: Gypsy

Best New Musical: Kinky Boots

Best Revival: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Best New Comedy: Nell Gwynn

Best New Play: Hangmen