2011 Olivier Awards

~ BBC Press Office ~ 02/03/11 ~

Sunday 13 March 5.30-9.30pm BBC RADIO 2

Musical Theatre star Michael Ball presents BBC Radio 2's live coverage of the Olivier Awards

With British theatre attendance at an all-time high, BBC Radio 2 continues its commitment to the arts by presenting live coverage of the UK's première theatre celebration, The Olivier Awards, from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Hosted for Radio 2 by Sunday morning presenter Michael Ball, with red carpet coverage by Jodie Prenger, the programme brings all the glamour and excitement of the ceremony to listeners with the award presentations, special performances from West End casts, guest artists and international stars.

"I'm excited, honoured and more than a little nervous to front what will, in effect, be four hours of live radio and TV," says Michael, "but I think it's fantastic for the West End and theatre in general that BBC Radio 2 is broadcasting what is one of the most prestigious dates in the theatrical calendar. Why should people be interested? Because The Olivier Awards highlight achievement across the full spectrum of theatrical arts and many would argue that the West End is the centre of the theatrical world. Plus it's always nice to see who looks great and who's wearing a really dodgy frock."

Presenting the main ceremony is Hollywood actor Matthew Fox, best known for playing Jack Shephard in hit TV series Lost. He is joined by British actress Olivia Williams, who appeared in An Education and The Sixth Sense. They are joined by a host of famous names from stage and screen who present the prestigious awards to the winners of each category.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies and Thea Sharrock's production of Terence Rattigan's After The Dance lead the nominations this year, with seven and six respectively. And there are numerous nominations for The National Theatre (17), Royal Court (nine) and Donmar Warehouse (nine).

Nominees include Episodes star Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance, Gina McKee and Jill Halfpenny, who recently scooped Best Supporting Actress at the What's On Stage Awards for her turn as Paulette in Legally Blonde.

This year's Awards see the first BBC Radio 2 Audience Award which gives the network's listeners the chance to crown their favourite long-running London show (listeners can vote at The Award will be presented by Elaine Paige.

The glamour and occasion can also be enjoyed by live digital viewers by simply pressing the BBC Red Button on their television remote.

Presenter/Michael Ball, Producer/Anthony Cherry for the BBC

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