Ball and Staunton host Olivier Awards

~ Olivier Awards Website ~ 03/03/11 ~

Previous Olivier Award-winners Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton are to host the 2011 Olivier Awards with MasterCard at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 13 March.

The pair, who will preside over the most glamorous ceremony in years, are no strangers to the Olivier Awards. Ball won the coveted Best Actor in a Musical Award in 2009 while Staunton is a double winner, having picked up the famous bronze statuette in 1985 and 1991.

Both hugely experienced stage performers, Staunton and Ball's presenting double-act comes ahead of their joint appearance on stage in Chichester Festival Theatre's revival of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd this September.

Treasured as much for her screen work as her stage appearances, Staunton is a BAFTA-winning actress with a vast body of work behind her. Such is her versatility that musicals Into The Woods, Guys And Dolls and Mack And Mabel sit on her CV alongside plays Life X 3, There Came A Gypsy Riding, Uncle Vanya and, most recently, Entertaining Mr Sloane in the West End. On screen, Staunton has starred in numerous films including Shakespeare In Love, Much Ado About Nothing, Sense And Sensibility and Vera Drake – for which she won a BAFTA and received an Oscar nomination – as well as the hugely popular television serial Cranford. Before heading to Chichester, Staunton returns to the London stage in A Delicate Balance at the Almeida theatre this May.

Ball will be adding Olivier Awards host to a résumé that already includes actor, producer, radio and TV presenter and recording artist. Since making his West End debut in the original production of Les Misérables in 1985, Ball has appeared in a variety of high profile West End productions, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera, The Woman In White and Aspects Of Love, Stephen Sondheim's Passion and family musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He made his opera debut at the London Coliseum in 2007 in Kismet and has appeared several times on Broadway. In 2008 he famously donned drag to play the loveable role of Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, a performance which earned him an Olivier Award. On top of that, Ball has released 12 solo albums, represented Great Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1992, toured all over the world and, since 2008, presented Michael Ball's Sunday Brunch on BBC Radio 2. In 2010 he turned producer by co-producing the musical Love Story in the West End.

Theatre fans who want to see Staunton and Ball in action can purchase tickets to the Olivier Awards, either by MasterCard through or with cash, Theatre Tokens or MasterCard in person at the tkts booths in Leicester Square and Brent Cross.

Those who don't have tickets to the prestigious event can watch the ceremony live on the BBC Red Button, listen to full coverage on BBC Radio 2 or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook .

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