Welcome to our new microsite celebrating this year’s Olivier Awards, to be held at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 13 March 2011.
The awards, which are organised every year by the Society of London Theatre, are the most popular and important in the British theatre calendar. This year they are set for an overhaul, with MasterCard sponsoring the event, and a glitzy ceremony planned at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
This is the 35th year for the awards, which were first held in December 1976 at the Café Royal and broadcast as part of the BBC’s Nationwide programme.
This year musical theatre star and TV and radio presenter Michael Ball, and award-winning actress Imelda Staunton, will host the awards. The awards will be covered extensively by the BBC on television, radio and online – including full red carpet coverage of stars arriving for the awards. The Society will also enlist BBC Radio 2 once again to help promote the Audience Award, which is voted for by members of the public. Last year 55,000 theatregoers voted and Wicked was crowned the Most Popular Show.
Leading this year’s nominations are Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies with 7 nominations and Thea Sharrock’s National Theatre production of Terence Rattigan’s After The Dance with 6 nominations, including best director for Sharrock and best actress for Nancy Carroll.
The National Theatre has 17 nominations in total, including nods for Fela!, Hamlet, Beauty And The Beast, The White Guard, Earthquakes In London and London Assurance. The Royal Court and the Donmar Warehouse have nine nominations each. The Royal Court’s Clybourne Park has 4 nominations including best play, and has recently enjoyed success at a number of awards including the South Bank Sky Arts Awards.
Also tipped for awards are End Of The Rainbow, with 4 nominations including best actress for Tracie Bennett, and Legally Blonde The Musical, with 5 nominations including best actress in a musical for Sheridan Smith. Other nominees for best actress in the musical category include Sierra Boggess for Love Never Dies, Love Story’s Emma Williams and Elena Roger for Passion at the Donmar.
Mark Rylance is tipped for a best actor award for his performance in La Bete, alongside Derek Jacobi, David Suchet, Rory Kinnear and Roger Allam. And in the musical category, Ramin Karimloo has a nod for Love Never Dies, joined by Legally Blonde’s Alex Gaumond, David Thaxton for Passion, Sahr Ngaujah for Fela! and Love Story’s Michael Xavier.
The UK’s most prestigious theatre awards started in 1976 as The Society of West End Theatre Awards, becoming the Laurence Olivier Awards in 1984.