Olivier Awards 2023 - Arlene Phillips and Derek Jacobi

Olivier Awards announce special awards: Arlene Phillips & Derek Jacobi; nominations date set

The Society of London Theatre’s Olivier Awards has revealed who will receive this year’s 2023 Special Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year two people will be honoured in the ‘Special Awards’ category of the Olivier Awards, recognising their outstanding contributions to the theatre industry.

The Society of London Theatre has also revealed the date that 2023 Olivier Award nominations will be announced. The nominees will be announced in London on 28 February 2023 at 2pm.

Dame Arlene Phillips has been awarded this year’s ‘Special Award’.

Arlene is a world-renowned choreographer and theatre director, honoured as a DBE for her services to dance and charity for over 45 years. Previously nominated for two Olivier Awards in the ‘Best Theatre Choreographer’ category, she is recognised for her considerable involvement with shows such as Starlight Express, Grease and Saturday Night Fever. She is also well known for appearing as a judge on talent competitions Strictly Come Dancing, and So You Think You Can Dance.

Arlene’s choreography for Grease will be on show in the West End at the Dominion Theatre from 2 June 2023; and her brand new choreography for Nicholas Hytner’s immersive production of Guys & Dolls will be playing at the Bridge Theatre from 3 March 2023.

Sir Derek Jacobi is to receive this year’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his remarkable 60-year career on stage and screen.

Derek has garnered critical acclaim over his distinguished career and been the recipient of numerous accolades, including two Olivier Awards (Cyrano de Bergerac and Twelfth Night). He is also one of the founding members of the National Theatre, enlisted by Laurence Olivier. In 1994, Derek was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to theatre.

His career includes a number of Shakespeare roles on screen and stage (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear), his notable TV roles include Last Tango In Halifax, The Crown and Vicious, and his many film appearances include Gladiator, The Kings Speech and Murder On The Orient Express.

Claire Walker and Hannah Essex, co-CEOs of Society of London Theatre said in a press statement: “We would like to offer an enormous congratulations to the two recipients of the Special Awards – Dame Arlene Phillips, for her inspiring work in dance and choreography, and Sir Derek Jacobi, for his incredible, life-long service to the theatre as an actor. This year’s honourees have inspired generations with their work, and it is a privilege to be able to publicly recognise them in this year’s awards.”

The Olivier Awards will take place on Sunday 2 April at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Hannah Waddingham. Hannah is going to be busy, as it was also announced today that she will be hosting the BBC’s coverage of this year’s The Eurovision Song Contest.

Shows that are eligible for this year’s awards and that are now playing in London include Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons at the Harold Pinter Theatre; Oklahoma! at the Wyndham’s Theatre; My Son’s a Queer, (But What Can You Do?) at the Ambassador’s Theatre; Janet McTeer in Phaedra at the National Theatre; Felicity Kendal in Noises Off at the Phoenix Theatre; Disney’s Newsies at the Troubadour Theatre Wembley Park; Beverley Knight in Sylvia at The Old Vic; and comedy The Unfriend at the Criterion Theatre.

The Olivier Awards are sponsored by Mastercard.

Also see: Olivier Awards 2023 – What we know so far

Guys & Dolls

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📷 Main photo: Olivier Awards 2023 - Arlene Phillips and Derek Jacobi

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