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Relaunch of Theatre’s Most Prestigious Awards Unveiled


-MasterCard announced as partner for Olivier Awards

-BBC News and Radio 2 broadcast the red carpet and Ceremony live at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

-Entire Ceremony live on television via the BBC Red Button

-Nominees announced for Olivier Awards 2011

London, — The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) today announced plans for the revitalisation of the Olivier Awards, theatre’s most prestigious prize.

A strategic three-year partnership with MasterCard will provide major investment in the development of the global profile of the Olivier Awards, underlining London’s status as the world centre for theatre.

Winners will receive their awards at the Olivier Awards 2011 Ceremony on Sunday 13 March 2011 in a star-studded show on the stage of London’s historic Theatre Royal Drury Lane with full orchestra under the Musical Direction of David Charles Abell. Distinguished guests from London’s arts and cultural scene will join winners and celebrities at the red carpet evening.

A new broadcast partnership with the BBC was also announced today, bringing the Olivier Awards to audiences across the country. There will be live coverage on BBC Television of the red carpet and a full results and reaction programme after the ceremony presented by Jane Hill and Arts Editor Will Gompertz. Radio 2 will broadcast direct from the theatre in a special programme presented by Michael Ball, from 5.30-9.30pm, with live coverage of the event ceremony and all performances from the stage plus red carpet interviews with attending stars from Jodie Prenger, and for the first time viewers can watch the proceedings live on television via the BBC Red Button.
This year also sees the return of the Radio 2 Audience Award, in which members of the public are able to vote for their favourite long running production from a shortlist of 18 shows. Elaine Paige, star of stage and screen, and presenter of Radio 2’s musical theatre show, will present the Award at the ceremony.

Among the nominations for the Olivier Awards 2011 with MasterCard announced today are:

•Best Actress: Tracie Bennett for End of the Rainbow, Nancy Carroll for After the Dance, Tamsin Greig for The Little Dog Laughed and Sophie Thompson for Clybourne Park.

•Best Actor: Roger Allam for Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Derek Jacobi for King Lear, Rory Kinnear for Hamlet, Mark Rylance for La Bête and David Suchet All My Sons.

•Best New Musical: Fela!, Legally Blonde – The Musical, Love Never Dies and Love Story

•Best Director: Dominic Cooke for Clybourne Park, Howard Davies for The White Guard, Michael Grandage for King Lear and Thea Sharrock for After the Dance.

•MasterCard Best New Play: Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter, Sucker Punch by Roy Williams, The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane, Tribes by Nina Raine.

•Best Actress in a Musical: Sierra Boggess for Love Never Dies, Elena Roger for Passion, Sheridan Smith for Legally Blonde – The Musical and Emma Williams for Love Story.

•Best Actor in a Musical: Alex Gaumond for Legally Blonde – The Musical, Ramin Kaumoo for Love Never Dies, Sahr Ngaujah for Fela! and Michael Xavier for Love Story.

•Best New Opera Production: English National Opera and Young Vic’s Elegy for Young Lovers; De Nederlandse Opera, English National Opera and Complicité’s A Dog’s Heart; Royal Opera, Vienna State Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Liceu, Barcelona and Opéra Bastille’s Adriana Lecouvreur at the Royal Opera House; OperaUpClose and Soho Theatre’s La Bohème.

•Best New Dance Production: Mamo 3XX1 by Danza Contemporanea de Cuba choreographed by Georga Cespedes; Babel (Words) by Eastman vzw and Theatre Royal de la Monnai, choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet.
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre, producers of the Olivier Awards, said today: “On behalf of London’s great theatres, we are proud to announce this major new partnership with MasterCard today. There has never been a more important time to work together in promoting London’s status as a world-class centre for theatre, our greatest creative industry. We are absolutely delighted that the BBC is joining us at this important time to bring the excitement and glamour of the Olivier Awards to millions of viewers across the country.”

Nica Burns, President of the Society of London Theatre, said today: “We are proud to announce the list of nominees for the Olivier Awards 2011, presented in partnership with MasterCard. The quality of the nominees announced today reflects talent in depth in every area, and the magnetic attraction of London as a world class powerhouse of theatre.”

Rita Broe, European Head of Marketing, MasterCard Worldwide, said:

“We are very pleased to announce our partnership with SOLT for the Laurence Olivier Awards. We know that our cardholders in London and throughout the world find the arts and theatre experience to be Priceless, and we are glad to support SOLT who honour and encourage excellence in this area. It’s also exciting to support the MasterCard Best New Play Award. Congratulations to nominees Clybourne Park, End of the Rainbow, Sucker Punch, The Little Dog Laughed and Tribe. The 13th of March promises to be a great London event.”

The Olivier Awards were established in 1976 to recognise distinguished artistic achievement in London theatre. In 1984 Lord Olivier agreed to have his name associated with them in 1984. The bronze Laurence Olivier Award, designed by the sculptor Harry Franchetti, representing the young Laurence Olivier as Henry V at the Old Vic in 1937, is presented to each of the winners.

About MasterCard Worldwide:

As a leading global payments company, MasterCard Worldwide prides itself on being at the heart of commerce, helping to make life easier and more efficient for everyone, everywhere. MasterCard serves as a franchisor, processor and advisor to the payments industry, and makes commerce happen by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, governments, businesses, merchants, and cardholders worldwide. In 2010, $2.7 trillion in gross dollar volume was generated on its products by consumers around the world. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network – the fastest payment processing network in the world – MasterCard processes over 23 billion transactions each year and has the capacity to handle 140 million transactions per hour, with an average network response time of 140 milliseconds and with 99.99 percent reliability. MasterCard advances global commerce through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro®, and Cirrus®; its suite of core products such as credit, debit, and prepaid; and its innovative platforms and functionalities, such as MasterCard PayPass™ and MasterCard inControl™. MasterCard serves consumers, governments, and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information, please visit us at


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