Each year, alongside the backstage and onstage accolades of the night, the Olivier Awards recognise a number of individuals who deserve special recognition for their work in and contribution to the Theatre Industry.
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of Society of London Theatre and Executive Producer of the Olivier Awards, said:
‘The Special Recognition Olivier Awards shine a spotlight on inspirational individuals doing vital work, often behind the scenes, who have been a force for good and helped shape our industry in a wide range of ways. The five people we are honouring this year have all inspired generations of colleagues and theatre audiences, been pioneers in their fields and are hugely deserving of this long-due recognition. It is a privilege to celebrate their achievements as part of this year’s Olivier Awards.’
We sat down with them at the Londoner Hotel to chat all about their careers in theatre and what this means to them.
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Find out all about this year’s recipients below:
Lisa Burger has been Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre for 20 years. Instrumental in expanding the reach of the National Theatre, she established NT Live, helping to make theatre more accessible to people across the country.
In founding the Theatre Nation Partnerships, she has forged partnerships with community organisations across the country and as a producer she has spread National Theatre productions not only across the West End but to Broadway and around the world.
Over the last two years Lisa has also played a key part in the industry’s recovery from the pandemic, creating NT at Home; bringing theatre to people during lockdown and playing a role in the delivery of the Cultural Recovery Fund, supporting cultural organisations’ recovery from the pandemic.
Bob King has been the creative force behind hundreds of West End and Broadway marketing campaigns. After 30 years as Creative Director of live entertainment marketing company Dewynters, Bob set up Bob King Creative, which has produced work for shows around the West End, Broadway and beyond.
Bob and his team have worked on many of the iconic visuals for West End shows that are instantly recognisable to theatre fans and novices alike, including the artwork for Olivier!, Back To The Future, Frozen, Mary Poppins, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, Wise Children and more.
Gloria Louis began working with the Front Of House team at the Strand Theatre over 30 years ago, and when she became manager there, she was one of the first women to do so.
After many years of service to the Strand Theatre – renamed the Novello Theatre in 2005 – she has taken on a new challenge as the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, using her years of knowledge and experience in outreach to young people.
Her dedication in this new role has taken her into schools and even Tottenham Hotspur Football ground to inspire young people to consider a role in the theatre and give them the advice and tools they need to do so.
Susie Sainsbury is a long-time supporter of the Arts, and her philanthropy has been invaluable to theatre in London and beyond.
Having worked as an editor in educational publishing, Susie has served on the board of the Royal Shakespeare Company and is Deputy Chairman of the Royal Academy of Music and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
She is the founder of The Backstage Trust, which provides grants to registered charities for projects involving the live performing arts, including professional development of small and medium scale arts organisations, and assisting live arts projects involving disadvantaged children and young people. In the last two years, she has been instrumental in the establishment and support of the Theatre Artists Fund.
Sylvia Young started part-time drama classes in London in 1972. Rapidly expanding, the Sylvia Young Theatre School became a full-time school in 1981 and is now situated in a converted church in Westminster.
Teaching hundreds of students every year in full-time, part-time and holiday school education, the students have gone on to make careers in television, film and theatre as well as in the music industry. Many West End productions as well as the National Theatre and RSC have seen alumni of the Sylvia Young Theatre School on their stages.
Sylvia was given an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2005 for her services to the arts.
Join us in celebrating the very best in British theatre! Experience the glitz and glamour of the Olivier Awards live in person, featuring exclusive performances from some of the West End’s hottest shows. Tickets are available exclusively for Mastercard cardholders via Priceless.com.