Photo credit: Olivier Awards (Photo courtesy of Society of London Theatre)

Everything you need to know about the Olivier Awards

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

London's West End theatres showcase world-class plays, musicals, and entertainment every night of the year. Every month, new productions open across the capital, and many actors give award-winning performances. To honour the exceptional London shows, the Society of London Theatre celebrates the very best in West End theatre at the Olivier Awards.

The Olivier Awards are dedicated to recognising high quality performances in West End shows, operas, and dance productions. If a production wins multiple Olivier Awards, then it's likely the show will become a West End long-runner, playing to audiences for years to come.

Named the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, London productions strive to win some of theatre's highest honours. The ceremony adopted the current name — the Laurence Olivier Awards — in 1984, after British actor Laurence Olivier. Ahead of the 2022 Olivier Awards, discover more about the Olivier Awards ceremonies, eligible productions, and who will win Olivier Awards.

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What Olivier Award-winning shows are in London now?

Many 2022 Olivier Award-winning shows and 2023 Olivier Award-nominated shows are currently running in London. Book your tickets now to the latest shows to earn critical acclaim.


Cabaret won seven Olivier Awards, including all four musical acting categories for its company: Eddie Redmayne, Jessie Buckley, Elliot Levey, and Liza Sadovy.

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Back to the Future: The Musical

Back to the Future: The Musical won Best New Musical at the 2022 Olivier Awards. See Back to the Future: The Musical at the Adelphi Theatre.

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Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Moulin Rouge! The Musical won one Olivier from its five nominations, picking up the award for Best Costume Design.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire won three Oliviers: Best Revival, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Anjana Vasan,) and Best Actor (Paul Mescal.)

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Patriots won one Olivier: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Will Keen.)

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Sylvia won one Olivier: Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Beverley Knight).

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Oklahoma! won two Olivier Awards: Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Arthur Darvill.)

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Newsies's Matt Cole won the Olivier Award for Best Choreographer.

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What shows were eligible for 2023 Olivier Awards?

The eligibility list details all the productions that meet criteria to be able to receive Olivier nominations. The full list is as follows:

The 47th, 101 Dalmatians, All Of Us, As You Like It, Bad Jews, Baghdaddy, The Band’s Visit, Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, Blues For An Alabama Sky, Bonnie & Clyde, The Boy With Two Hearts, The Breach, Britannicus, Bugsy Malone, Cages, Chasing Hares, The Clinic, Closer, Cock, The Corn Is Green, The Crucible, "Daddy”: A Melodrama, A Different Stage, A Doll’s House, Part 2, Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, Eureka Day, The Father And The Assassin, The Fellowship, The Fever Syndrome, For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, The Glass Menagerie, Good, Grease, Handbagged, Henry V (Shakespeare's Globe), Henry V (Donmar Warehouse), Henry VIII, Hex, The House Of Shades, The Human Voice, Iphigenia In Splott, Jack Absolute Flies Again, Jack And The Beanstalk, Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion Freak Show, Jerusalem, Jitney, Julius Caesar, Kerry Jackson, King Lear, Legally Blonde, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Linck & Mülhahn, The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, Mad House, Mandela, Marvellous, Mary, Marys Seacole, The Merchant Of Venice, Middle, Mother Goose, Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre,) Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare's Globe), My Fair Lady, My Neighbour Totoro, My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?), Newsies, Noises Off, Oklahoma!, One Woman Show, Orlando, Othello, Our Generation, Patriots, Peaky Blinders: The Rise, Phaedra, Prima Facie, The Seagull, Scandaltown, Derren Brown: Showman, Sister Act, Small Island, The Snail House, Sons Of Prophet, Sound Of The Underground, South Pacific, Standing At The Sky’s Edge, A Streetcar Named Desire, Sylvia, Tammy Faye, The Tempest, That Is Not Who I Am, Titus Andronicus, To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom, Dick & Harry, The Unfriend, Watch On The Rhine, and The Wife Of Willesden.

The shows eligible for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre are: After The End, Age Is A Feeling, George Takei’s Allegiance, The Animal Kingdom, The Art Of Illusion, Blackout Songs, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, A Christmas Carol, Cinderella, Clutch, Clybourne Park, Dinner With Groucho, Elephant, The End Of The Night, Favour, Follow The Sign, From Here To Eternity, House Of Ife, Invisible, The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English, Lotus Beauty, The Ministry Of Lesbian Affairs, On The Ropes, The P Word, Paradise Now!, Persuasion, Ravenscourt, Ride, Rose, A Single Man, Super High Resolution, Tony [The Tony Blair Rock Opera], Two Palestinians Go Dogging, Winner’s Curse, Wolf Cub, The Wonderful World Of Dissocia, Word-Play, and Zorro The Musical.

What are the Olivier Awards?

The Olivier Awards are given out at an awards ceremony that acknowledges exceptional theatre performances in the West End and London. The Olivier Awards are the most prestigious awards ceremony in the West End's theatre calendar and are similar to the Tony Awards on Broadway, as they both give honours to exceptional productions.

When are the Olivier Awards?

The 2023 Olivier Awards will take place on 2 April 2023. Typically, the Olivier Awards are held in April and mark the end of a year of theatre. This year, the Olivier Awards will be held on the first Sunday in April.

Where are the Olivier Awards taking place?

The 2023 Olivier Awards will take place at the Royal Albert Hall. The Olivier Awards were first held at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017, and this tradition has continued for all in-person ceremonies since.

Previous ceremonies have been at the Royal Opera House and many West End theatres, including the Dominion Theatre, London Palladium, Lyceum Theatre, National Theatre, Piccadilly Theatre, Shaftesbury Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Victoria Palace Theatre.

The Royal Albert Hall is known for holding the BBC Proms concerts each summer. Over 1.7 million people visit the Royal Albert Hall each year, and the venue is home the buzziest night in the theatre calendar — the Olivier Awards.

What time are the Olivier Awards?

Timings for the 2023 Olivier Awards will be announced at a later date. The Olivier Awards will take place in the evening.

How can I watch the Olivier Awards?

If you want to keep up with the latest Olivier Awards news as it happens, follow London Theatre on Twitter.

What does an Olivier Award look like?

Winning an Olivier Award isn't just verbal praise. Olivier Award winners also receive a bronze statue. The Olivier Award statue is a cast of Laurence Olivier in Henry V at the Old Vic in 1937, and the design is commissioned by the Society of London Theatre. Olivier Awards statues aren't small either! They weigh 1.6 kilograms.

How many categories are in the Olivier Awards?

There are 27 categories in the 2022 Olivier Awards. 21 awards are for theatre productions, with a further two awards for opera, two awards for dance, and one for productions in affiliate theatres. The Special Award is also given each year to a different actor. The Olivier Award categories are as follows:

Olivier Awards for Productions

Best New Play
Best Revival
Best New Comedy
Best New Musical
Best Musical Revival

Olivier Awards for Performers

Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Actor in a Musical
Best Actress in a Musical
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical

Olivier Awards for Creatives

Outstanding Achievement in Music Production
Best Director
Gillian Lynne Award for Best Theatre Choreographer
Best Set Design
Best Costume Design
Best Lighting Design
Best Sound Design

Olivier Awards for Dance

Best New Dance Production
Outstanding Achievement in Dance

Olivier Awards for Opera

Best New Opera Production
Outstanding Achievement in Opera

Additional Olivier Awards

Best Entertainment and Family
Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre
Special Award

What theatres are eligible in the Olivier Awards?

The Olivier Awards recognises the best theatre performances across the West End and select Off-West End theatres in London. However, not all London productions qualify for Olivier Award eligibility. All shows at the following 54 venues are eligible for the main Olivier Awards categories:

Almeida Theatre
Ambassadors Theatre
Apollo Theatre
Apollo Victoria Theatre
Arts Theatre
Cambridge Theatre
Criterion Theatre
Dominion Theatre
Donmar Warehouse
Duchess Theatre
Duke of York's Theatre
Fortune Theatre
Garrick Theatre
Gielgud Theatre
Gillian Lynne Theatre
Hampstead Theatre
Harold Pinter Theatre
Her Majesty's Theatre
London Coliseum
London Palladium
Lyceum Theatre
Lyric Theatre
National Theatre
Noël Coward Theatre
Novello Theatre
Palace Theatre
Phoenix Theatre
Piccadilly Theatre
Playhouse Theatre
Prince Edward Theatre
Prince of Wales Theatre
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
Riverside Studios
Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs) 
Royal Opera House
Sadler's Wells
Savoy Theatre
Shaftesbury Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe
Sondheim Theatre
St Martin's Theatre
Trafalgar Theatre
The Old Vic
The Other Palace
The Young Vic
Theatre Royal Drury Lane 
Theatre Royal Haymarket
Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre
Troubadour White City Theatre
Unicorn Theatre
Vaudeville Theatre
Victoria Palace Theatre
Wyndham's Theatre 

What are affiliate venues in the Olivier Awards?

As well as the 54 venues that can house Olivier-eligible productions, some venues can submit productions as an "affiliate." Affiliate venues are organisational members of the UK Theatre Association, but do not pay a performance levy in order to qualify for main eligibility. Affiliiate theatres include: 

Arcola Theatre
Bloomsbury Theatre
Boulevard Theatre
Bush Theatre
Cadogan Hall
Charing Cross Theatre
Greenwich Theatre
Hackney Empire
Hampstead (Downstairs)
Kiln Theatre
Lyric Hammersmith Theatre
Menier Chocolate Factory
New Wimbledon Theatre
Park Theatre
Peacock Theatre
Polka Theatre
Rose Theatre Kingston
Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Upstairs)
Soho Theatre
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Unicorn Clore Theatre
Young Vic Maria and Clare studios

Who is nominated for the 2023 Olivier Awards?

Shows with multiple nominations include My Neighbour Totoro and Standing at the Sky's Edge. Check out all the 2023 Olivier Awards nominations on London Theatre.

Who is hosting the 2023 Olivier Awards?

Hannah Waddingham will host the 2023 Olivier Awards. The Emmy-winning actress is best known for playing Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso. Her West End credits include Spamalot, Kiss Me Kate, and Into The Woods. Find out more about Hannah Waddingham hosting the Oliviers.

Who is performing at the 2023 Olivier Awards?

All of the Best New Musical nominees will perform: Standing At The Sky's Edge, Sylvia, Tammy Faye, and The Band's Visit. Newsies, nominated for Best Choreography, will take to the stage, as well as musical revivals Oklahoma! and Sister Act.

The Book of Mormon will perform to mark the show's 10th anniversary. There'll also be a tribute to Grease to honour choreographer Arlene Philips.

Who won the 2023 Olivier Awards?

The 2023 Olivier Awards winners will be revealed at an in-person ceremony at the Royal Albert on 2 April 2023. My Neighbour Totoro won six Olivier Awards. Find out the full list of Olivier winners.

Photo credit: Olivier Awards (Photo courtesy of Society of London Theatre)

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