A WREXHAM writer is celebrating a magical night after winning a prestigious Olivier Award.

Emma Reeves collected the award over Zoom as the glittering ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall due to take place back in April had to be cancelled during lockdown.

The Worst Witch, which ran at London’s Vaudeville Theatre, won the award for best family show.

Based on Jill Murphy’s original books, it was adapted for the theatre by Emma, who attended Victoria CP School, Ysgol Bryn Offa and Yale College in Wrexham, also adapted the stories for the award-winning television series.

The Worst Witch centres on Mildred Hubble – an ordinary girl in an extraordinary school. But Mildred is unfortunately a little accident-prone, and as she’s learning her magical skills, she accidentally leaves a trail of mayhem in her wake.

Emma said the play's message was one of fairness and equality.

She told the Leader: "One of the things about Mildred is she doesn't start off as a witch, she comes from a normal family, and some of the witches think that you need to come from a special sort of family to succeed as a witch. It's an inspirational story that says talent doesn't have to come from a particular place or background and that everyone deserves a chance.

"It was based on Jill's schooldays when she had got into a Catholic grammar school and some of the nuns thought that she was kind of from the wrong side of the tracks and it wasn't the school for her. But she showed them."

The first Worst Witch was published in 1974, with the eight book coming out just a few years ago, and has built up a loyal following across the generations.

Emma said: "We really wanted to make a lay that anyone can enjoy."

Emma added that it had been a strange and difficult year for the theatre industry.

She added: "It's very strange. A show I worked on a few years ago, Hetty Feather, was nominated. We didn't win that time, but we went to this huge event, there was a huge ceremony with acts and big songs from the musicals. If all had gone to plan this year, it was going to be at the Royal Albert Hall back in April.

"Everything is really strange at the moment, the theatre industry has been really damaged by covid, as you can imagine. All the theatres had to close overnight. They wee gradually beginning to come back, but now we have all these new restrictions."

The virtual ceremony was hosted by Jason Manford.

Sunday night’s pre-recorded ceremony, which aired on ITV, saw Sharon D Clarke win best actress for Death Of A Salesman at the Young Vic and Piccadilly Theatre.

The ceremony honoured Sir Ian McKellen with his seventh Olivier Award for his 80th Birthday tour.

Andrew Scott has won a stage award while many theatres remain closed because of the pandemic.

The Fleabag star landed best actor at the Olivier Awards for his role in Present Laughter, a modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness.

Lyricist Don Black received a special award from Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Duchess of Cornwall, who urged the theatre industry to “please remain resilient”.