By Imogen Sarre
We're very proud to have been involved with so many excellent productions over the last year and are thrilled to see how many have scooped nominations in this year's Olivier Awards. To celebrate and pay tribute to the awards and our many talented nominees, we take a look at:
First and foremost, something should be cleared up. No one would be more indignant about the full and formal use of his title in our title than Olivier himself: during his career, he refused to carry on a conversation with anyone who didn't address him as Larry.
A brief history
Born in 1907, 'Larry' enjoyed a six decade career as an actor, director and producer. He performed more than 120 stage roles (many of which such as Richard III, Macbeth, Hamlet and Uncle Vanya list among theatre's most iconic roles); he was involved with 60 films; and has too many Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations and awards to list. Furthermore, he was the first...
... actor to be knighted
... Artistic Director of the National Theatre Company, which he co-founded
... person to direct himself to a Best Actor win (in Hamlet, 1948)
Larry died in 1988 and was one of only a few actors to be interred in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. (Incidentally, this means his ashes are buried alongside King Henry V, whom he portrayed in theatre and film).
He is remembered by The Olivier Theatre at the National and The Olivier Awards (renamed in his honour in 1984). Winners of an Olivier award get a 1.6kg bronze bust of Laurence Olivier as Henry V at The Old Vic in 1937.
Where? Royal Opera House and televised live in Covent Garden Piazza
When? Sunday 28th April, 4pm
Hosted by? previous winner Sheridan Smith & Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville
Who judges it? Each year the Olivier Award winners are decided after intense and passionate debate from a mixture of distinguished industry professionals, theatre luminaries and members of the public, all who share a passion for the dramatic wealth of talent that London theatre offers.
Best actor: Luke Treadaway - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best actress: Helen Mirren - The Audience
Best actor in a supporting role: Richard McCabe - The Audience
Best actress in a supporting role: Nicola Walker - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Mastercard best new play: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best director: Marianne Elliott - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best actor in a musical: Michael Ball - Sweeney Todd
Best actress in a musical: Imelda Staunton - Sweeney Todd
Best performance in a supporting role in a musical: Leigh Zimmerman - A Chorus Line
Best new musical: Top Hat
Best revival: Long Day's Journey Into Night
Best musical revival: Sweeney Todd
Best entertainment and family: Goodnight Mister Tom
White Light Award for best lighting design: Paule Constable - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best sound design: Ian Dickinson - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best costume design: Jon Morrell - Top Hat
XL video award for best set design: Bunny Christie & Finn Ross - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best new dance production: Aeternum by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon
Outstanding achievement in dance: Marianela Nunez for Aeternum, Diana & Actaeon and Viscera, The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera
Best theatre choreographer: Bill Deamer - Top Hat
Outstanding achievement in affiliate theatre: The season of new writing at the Royal Court Upstairs
Best new opera production: Einstein On The Beach at the Barbican Theatre
Outstanding achievement in opera: Bryan Hymel for his performances in Les Troyens, Robert Le Diable and Rusalka at the Royal Opera House
BBC Radio 2 audience award: Billy Elliot The Musical
Special Award: Gillian Lynne; Michael Frayn
We're hugely proud that 3 of the 5 nominees for Best Actor have been in ATG co-produced productions at ATG theatres. All these 3 are big Hollywood names, but seeing them on stage is not just exciting for those of us who get celeb-struck. Their performances prove that they're not just superstars because of their great looks, but that true and powerful talent played its part in their success.
Describe how you feel to be nominated: Surprised and like I've already received a great commendation by being in the company of Mr Treadaway, Rylance, Spall, and Everett. To be in that kind of company is an honour.
Best piece of advice given: Make respect your default position.
Why does theatre matter? Because it's part of our DNA. We've been telling stories since the dawn of time and we'll continue to do so whether we have the technology for film, radio, or any of these media devices. We will always have a guy or lady standing in front of other guys and ladies and telling stories and that's what theatre is.
Describe how you feel to be nominated: I never thought that being nominated for awards mattered until I got nominated for one and now it really matters.
Best piece of advice given: Be kind.
Why does theatre matter? Theatre matters because from an actor's point of view which is the only way I can really answer this question it's the test cricket of acting. It's the highest level. It takes no prisoners and it's terrifying and scary and to go and see a play, and watch an actor give his heart and soul and not remember lines for 2 hours and not die with fear, is a very special thing. Because it's art for nothing else than art's sake and that is a really amazing thing.
Name: Rupert Everett
Nominated for: The Judas Kiss at the Duke of York's Theatre
Best known for: films My Best Friend's Wedding & Shakespeare in Love
Everett on playing Oscar Wilde: "I do have a really strong notion of Wilde. I see him very clearly. He was blinded by success, blinded by stardom, and never understood, ever in his life, that he was vile to his wife but I think his flaws are touching and great. I love him for his faults and his snobbery."
Everett on performing in The Judas Kiss: 'It was amazing doing the play on the night of the parliamentary act about gay marriage. There was this extraordinary feeling, doing a play about a character who lost everything for being gay, and seeing where it had come to, that night.'
What first drew you to acting? 'Wanting to be somebody else. As a child, I played dress-up with great conviction. I'd walk to the village shop wearing my mother's clothes, pretending I was somebody different.'
KST on alternating roles with Lia Williams in Old Times: 'It's really, really good fun, very hard work, but really interesting because I will have my little version of the scene and I will suddenly see Lia do hers and think 'How could I have missed that?'
We're really proud to work so closely with the Donmar Warehouse, a powerhouse of talent that consistently produces some of the best theatre the world over. It's especially wonderful to have Cush Jumbo recognised for the part she played in one of the most innovative productions of recent times: an all-female production of Julius Caesar, directed by Phyllida Lloyd (films Mama Mia! and The Iron Lady).
Name: Cush Jumbo
Nominated for: Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse
Best known for: science fiction drama Torchwood, Children of Earth
Describe how you feel to be nominated: Chuffed, honoured, a little bit shocked and really pleased.
Secret dream role on stage: Cleopatra.
Pre-performance rituals or superstitions: I ring my mum.
Favourite theatre: The Donmar Warehouse.
Best piece of advice given: To enjoy every day.
Why does theatre matter? Theatre is people telling stories and taking other people on a journey with them somewhere exciting where they probably might not be able to go in their everyday life.
Name: Will Young
Nominated for: Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre
Best known for: winning the 2002 inaugural series of Pop Idol and his debut single 'Anything is Possible'
Describe how you feel to be nominated: Extremely proud.
Best piece of advice given: Treat people how you expect to be treated.
Why does theatre matter? It teaches you things about life.
Describe how you feel to be nominated: Pleased, anxious and nervous.
Best piece of advice given: Just write the kind of play you want to write.
Secret dream role: Roxie Hart in Chicago.
Why does theatre matter? I think because in terms of working in theatre you can take more risks, I would argue, than you could in any other medium. And also for audiences because [...] there are very few art forms that really need an audience live.
What better way is there to introduce in Jamie Lloyd Productions (a partnership between ATG and acclaimed director Jamie Lloyd) and his Trafalgar Transformed season of plays at our intimate Trafalgar Studios? This nomination for Lloyd's inaugural production feels like karma after the wonderful '15 Macbeth Monday outreach ticket scheme, and especially great timing with Lloyd's second production Pinter's The Hothouse hotting up the rehearsal room right now.