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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.

Book tickets to Olivier Award-winning shows on London Theatre.

What Olivier Award-winning shows are in London now?

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

Cabaret

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

Book Cabaret tickets on London Theatre.

Life of Pi

Life of Pi won five Olivier Awards, including Best New Play and Best Supporting Actor for the seven people who play the Tiger.

Book Life of Pi tickets on London Theatre.

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.

Book Back to the Future: The Musical tickets on London Theatre.

Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical

Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical won one Olivier from its four nominations for Best Orchestrations.

Book Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical tickets on London Theatre.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

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

Book Moulin Rouge! The Musical tickets on London Theatre.

Anything Goes

Anything Goes won an Olivier Award for Best Choreography. See Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre.

Book Anything Goes tickets on London Theatre.

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 2022 Olivier Awards took place on 10 Apr. 2022. 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 second Sunday in April. 

Where are the Olivier Awards taking place?

The 2022 Olivier Awards took 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?

The 2022 Olivier Awards ceremony began at 5:30pm. The 2022 Olivier Awards will take place on 10 April at the Royal Albert Hall. The Olivier Awards will take place in the evening.

How can I watch the Olivier Awards?

A highlight reel of the 2022 Olivier Awards was broadcast on ITV in the following days after the ceremony. 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.

What shows were eligible for the 2022 Olivier Awards?

Any new production that opened between 19 Feb. 2020 to 22 Feb. 2022 was eligible for categories in the 2022 Olivier Awards. With two years worth of shows set for honours in one year's ceremony, the 2022 Olivier Awards proved tougher competition than before.

How many categories are in the Olivier Awards?

There are 27 categories in the 2022 Olivier Awards. Twenty-one 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
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
Barbican
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 2022 Olivier Awards?

The 2022 Olivier Award nominees were revealed on 8 March. Cabaret leads the musical nominations, represented in 11 categories including Best Revival of a Musical. Anything Goes received nine nominations, with Back to the Future: The Musical picking up seven nominations. In the plays, Life of Pi leads the nominations with nine nods, and The Normal Heart is nominated for five awards across four categories.

Read a full list of the 2022 Olivier Award nominations.

Who won the 2022 Olivier Awards?

The 2022 Olivier The 2022 Olivier Awards winners were revealed at an in-person ceremony at the Royal Albert on 10 April. [Find out the full list of Olivier Award winners here.](https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/theatre-news/news/2022-olivier-awards-winners)

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

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