London’s theatregoers are being given the chance to have their voices heard at the 2010 Laurence Olivier Awards by selecting both the shortlist and the winner of the new Laurence Olivier Audience Award.
The new award for 2010 will see London’s most prestigious theatre awards crown the favourite long-running London show of 2009 as voted for entirely by the theatregoing public using leading theatre website Official London Theatre. To be eligible, shows must have opened before 1 January 2009 and still be running on 31 December 2009.
The first stage of voting, to whittle the 20 eligible productions down to a shortlist, is now open. Theatregoers have until 12:00 on 1 February to nominate the show they would most like to see on the shortlist, which will be announced alongside the other eagerly anticipated Laurence Olivier Award nominees in early February. A second stage of voting, which will open once the nominations have been announced, will give theatregoers the chance to choose their winner from the shortlist.
If having the opportunity to decide who wins one of London theatre’s most coveted accolades was not enough, each theatregoer who takes part in the first stage of voting will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a pair of money-can’t-buy tickets to the star-studded Laurence Olivier Award ceremony which will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London on 21 March 2010.
The Laurence Olivier Awards, which are presented annually to recognise the very best London theatre has to offer, were founded in 1976, when they were known as the Society of West End Theatre Awards. Lord Olivier, arguably the greatest actor to grace the London stage, agreed to have his name associated with the awards in 1984.
The winners of the Laurence Olivier Awards are chosen by a panel of judges including both industry experts and members of the public, who spend their year attending all eligible shows before choosing the winners. Only once before in the history of the awards have the public who were not part of the panel had the opportunity to vote for their favourite show. In 2002 the Audience Award for Most Popular Show was won by The Phantom Of The Opera, beating opposition from Cats, the Reduced Shakespeare Company and Mamma Mia!.