Julian Bird

The Olivier Awards with MasterCard is the most prestigious event in the UK’s theatrical calendar celebrating the best of the London stage. Whilst I write, we are busy putting the finishing touches to this year’s Awards which take place at the Royal Opera House on Sunday 28 April.

I am delighted that our hosts will be Hugh Bonneville and Sheridan Smith, and that we will be joined by three of musical theatre’s biggest international stars – Matthew Morrison, Idina Menzel and Petula Clark – giving special solo performances alongside unique ones from our nominated musicals which you won’t want to miss.

This year’s list of Olivier nominees is as star-studded as ever with many currently performing in the West End, including Helen Mirren in The Audience, Heather Headley in The Bodyguard and Luke Treadaway in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. They will rub shoulders on the night with an exciting list of guest presenters including Kim Cattrall, Damian Lewis and Daniel Radcliffe.

Join us to celebrate the Olivier Awards from 4pm on 28 April for a free public event at the BBC Radio 2 Stage in Covent Garden piazza hosted by BBC Radio 2 presenter Claudia Winkleman and West End leading man Michael Xavier. There will be West End performances on the piazza stage, and a live feed of the ceremony on the big screens so you can watch the Awards action as it happens!

If you prefer to enjoy the Awards from the comfort of your hotel room or home, tune in to BBC Radio 2 from 6pm, with interviews on the red carpet and then the entire ceremony live. Then turn on the television and watch the extensive highlights programme of the awards ceremony from 10.15pm on ITV.

2012 was another record year for London Theatre registering almost 14 million attendances and over half a billion pounds in revenue from ticket sales. Theatre is one of the capital’s greatest draws, with an international reputation for offering world-class entertainment, and through the Olivier Awards we plan to show people exactly why that is.

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Julian Bird