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Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox on stage at the 2019 Olivier Awards.

How the Olivier Award winners are chosen

Each year, the Olivier Award winners are decided by a group of distinguished industry professionals, theatre luminaries and members of the public specifically chosen for their passion for London theatre.

How it works

Lively and intense debates are conducted by four panels – theatre, opera, dance and affiliates – each overseen by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT).

The professional panellists are chosen for their knowledge in the selected field and each panel is made up of various members including journalists, casting directors, arts administrators and publishers. Each person is chosen by the Chief Executive of SOLT following advice from the SOLT Awards Office and external advisors.

Chris Hooper, Patti LuPone, Marianne Elliott and Jonathon Bailey take a selfie with their awards for 'Company'. Photo by David Levene.Chris Hooper, Patti LuPone, Marianne Elliott and Jonathon Bailey take a selfie with their awards for ‘Company’. Photo by David Levene.

The panellists for the 2020 awards were:


Nathan Pearce
Rae Dahesh
Samuel Miles
Sarah Kinsella
Mei Shan Neoh
Sass Webber
John Venier
Hannah Currie
Sydney Kavanagh


Barry Burnett
Michael Carling
Lindsey Rost
Mike Cottrell


Chrissy Combes
Toby Young
Harry Hickmore
Emma Black
Eva Hornstein


Christopher Bannerman
Giuliano Levato
Philippa Newis


Judith West + Alexander Fealey
Elaine Grant + Angelina Grant
Steven Foster + Agnes Foster
Anita Chadha-Patel + Arun Patel
Rosie Ranganathan + James Ranganathan

The process

Any new production that opened between 20 February 2019 and 18 February 2020 in a theatre represented in membership of the Society of London Theatre is eligible for consideration for the Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard, provided it ran for the minimum amount of performances required for that category.

For Affiliates, Dance and Opera, panellists select the shows they consider most worthy of an Olivier Award (to create the nominations in the relevant categories) and vote on a winner at the end of the judging period.

For the Theatre awards, the process happens in two stages. Firstly, a long list is compiled by the Theatre panel, which indicates productions or individuals in a category which the panel deem worthy of particular attention. This long list is then submitted to SOLT members to vote upon; members may still vote outside of this list at this stage, except for in the four Supporting Actor/Actress categories (as these each contain thousands of eligible performers). The members’ votes are collated with those of the panellists to create the list of nominees.

In the second stage, the overall shortlist of nominees is voted on by both members and panellists to produce the winners.

And the winners are…

Although there is much speculation and gossip among fans, aficionados and stars of the stage, the winners in each category are a closely guarded secret. They are known only by the Chief Executive of SOLT (who also produces the Olivier Awards), the Awards Office, and the engraver of the statuettes, until they are announced at the Olivier Awards ceremony.

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.

Be a judge

Each year, SOLT looks for members of the public to serve as Olivier Award panellists. Prospective panellists are asked to submit a show review and undergo interviews with the Chief Executive of SOLT and the Awards office.

If you are selected as a panellist, you can’t be expected to make decisions without doing your research. That’s why each successful candidate is given free tickets to eligible shows throughout the year from February 2020 – 2021. Not only that, as an official judge, you’ll also get to attend the ceremony and rub shoulders with the glitterati of the theatre world.

Applications to become a public panellist for the 2021 Oliviers are now closed.


Due to the current pandemic various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows. Please bear with us as we try to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you find a mistake, please let us know by emailing enquiries@soltukt.co.uk. If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

For more than 40 years, TKTS was our on-the-day theatre ticket box office in Leicester Square. Currently closed due to the current situation, we are now selling our great last minute seats and prices online. Click here to learn more.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.