Former Olivier Award winners Michael Frayn and Gillian Lynne are to be honoured with Special Awards at this year’s Olivier Awards for their outstanding contributions to theatre.
Michael Frayn is a multi-Olivier Award-winning playwright whose plays include recent revivals of Democracy and Noises Off at the Old Vic Theatre, with Noises Off transferring to the West End. He has won three Olivier Awards through his career, for Donkeys’ Years, Benefactors and Noises Off.
Frayn’s career began as a Russian interpreter at the Joint Services School for Linguists during his National Service, after which he went on to utilise his language skills to translate four of Anton Chekhov’s major plays – The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard – as well as an untitled work he named Wild Honey and a selection of short plays entitled The Sneeze. The playwright’s other stage plays include Tony Award-winning historical drama Copenhagen and Afterlife, a biographical play based on the life of Austrian director and actor Max Reinhardt, but he has also enjoyed success with his screen work, writing for British comedy film Clockwise and television series Making Faces.
Gillian Lynne is to be celebrated for her groundbreaking work on musicals Cats and The Phantom Of The Opera. She won the 1981 award for Outstanding Achievement of the Year in Musicals for her choreography in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats.
Beginning her career as a dancer for the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, Lynne went on to star in numerous stage and screen productions before turning her hand to directing and choreography, working on productions including The Matchgirls, Aspects Of Love, My Fair Lady, Cabaret and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Twice nominated for a Tony Award, she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s 1997 Honours list for her services to dance.
Frayn and Lynne will collect their awards at a star-studded ceremony on 28 April at the Royal Opera House, where the nominees for this year’s awards – which are to be announced on Tuesday 26 March 2013 at a special event presented by Ruth Wilson and Elaine Paige at the May Fair Hotel – and special guests will gather in order to celebrate the very best of London theatre.
Hosted by two-time Olivier Award winner Sheridan Smith and Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville, the ceremony will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and followed by a fantastic highlights programme screened on ITV later in the evening.
There will also be a public event for avid theatre fans who are invited to celebrate the evening’s proceedings at the Covent Garden piazza, where they can watch the excitement unfold on the big screen, enjoy live performances from the four long-running shows shortlisted for the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award and much more.