9 MARCH 2009

Patrick Stewart cemented his position as one of the country's top thespians on Sunday night after scooping his third Laurence Olivier Award.

Yorkshire-born Patrick, 68, completed his hat trick of the prestigious theatre gongs for his acclaimed supporting role as Claudius in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Hamlet, starring David Tennant in the title role.

Sir Derek Jacobi's portrayal of Malvolio in Twelfth Night earned him the top acting honour while Margaret Tyzack won the best actress award for her work in The Chalk Garden in front of an audience that included Gavin & Stacey's James Corden and Touched… star Sadie Frost.

Kevin Spacey, artistic director of the Old Vic, was on hand to present playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn with a special Olivier award on a night that saw Black Watch, a play about soldiers in the Scottish regiment serving in Iraq, walk away with four honours.

Photo: Rex
Leading stage actor Patrick picked up his third Olivier award for his supporting role in Hamlet
Photo: Getty Images
Old Vic director Kevin - pictured with Andrea Corr, currently treading the boards in Dancing At Lughnasa - presented a special award to playwright Alan Ayckbourn