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Jack McBrayer and Katharine McPhee at the 2019 Olivier Awards. Photo by David Levene.

Jack McBrayer and Katharine McPhee at the 2019 Olivier Awards. Photo by David Levene.

Apply to be a public panellist for the Olivier Awards 2021

First Published 19 November 2019, Last Updated 20 January 2020

Applications for the the Olivier Awards 2021 public panels are now closed. Sign up to our newsletter to be notified when applications open for 2022!

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The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is looking for new panellists to help judge categories for the Olivier Awards 2021.

Established in 1976, the Olivier Awards celebrate the world-class status of London theatre, and are Britain’s most prestigious stage honours.

The judging period for eligible shows will run from 19 February 2020 for approximately 12 months. During this time, you will be required to watch and review lots of different shows around London and while this is quite a commitment, it is a very exciting opportunity for the right individual.

Here’s more information on the types of panellists we’re looking for, and how to apply to become one.

Theatre, Affiliate, Opera and Dance Panels

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake performance at Olivier Awards 2019 with MastercardMatthew Bourne’s Swan Lake performance at Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard

SOLT are looking for members of the public for the Theatre, Affiliate (smaller or non-West End London theatres), Opera, and Dance panels.

Panellists are required to see all of the eligible productions in their chosen category. This can include up to 100 plays or musicals in London, though the numbers are usually lower for Opera and Dance. Panellists normally receive two free tickets to each show, plus a free programme. This unpaid position lasts for a year and expenses are not covered.

Please note that you need to be aged 18 years old or over to be considered for this panellist position.

To apply for a panellist place, please write a 150-word review of a production you have seen in the last year, plus a list of all the other productions you have seen in that period. The application form will guide you through this.

Theatre panel:

You will be assessing the below awards categories.

  • Best New Play
  • Best Entertainment or Comedy Play
  • Best Original Score or New Orchestrations
  • Best Revival
  • Best New Musical
  • Best Musical Revival
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Sound Design
  • Best Set Design
  • Best Lighting Design
  • Best Director
  • Best Theatre Choreographer
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical
  • Best Actress in a Musical
  • Best Actor in a Musical
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress

Affiliate panel:

Our affiliate theatres tend to be smaller spaces and studios, and you will be judging the below award category.

  • Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre

 Dance panel:

The dance panel assesses solely dance productions, you will be judging the below award categories.

  • Best New Dance Production
  • Outstanding Achievement in Dance

Opera panel:

The opera panel assesses solely opera productions, you will be judging the below award categories.

  • Best New Opera Production
  • Outstanding Achievement in Opera

Family panel

Our Family panel will judge Best Family Show. We are looking for groups of two panellists consisting of an adult (over 18) with an accompanying child (under 18). Panellists need to attend all eligible Family shows together (adult & child).

To have the chance to become a panellist, please write one 150-word review of a production you have seen together in the last year, a paragraph telling us a bit about you both, plus a list of all the other productions you have seen in the last 12 months.

Family panel:

With our family panel, the child’s opinions truly matter to us, and they will be fully involved in the decision-making process.

  • Best Family Show

How to apply

This is a wonderful chance to be at the heart of London theatre and help decide who wins London’s most prestigious theatrical prizes! As a thank you for your commitment, members of the judging panels are invited to attend the ceremony.

Applications for the 2021 public panels are now closed. 

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