Olivier Awards 2013 – The Winners and Losers

William J Connolly
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(Hosts: High Bonnerville & Sheridan Smith. Photo: www.olivierawards.co.uk)

The 37th Olivier Awards took place at the end of April, an evening brought together to celebrate the very best of theatre in the UK.

As expected, the evening brought the very best of British theatre talent to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, displaying that not only can us Brits do theatre better than anyone else in the world, but we can also look better doing it than anyone else too.

It was ball gowns and bow ties everywhere you turned. But hey, who was complaining? These theatre folk aren’t exactly ugly! 2011 Best Actress in a Musical winner and West End actress Sheridan Smith, alongside television favourite Hugh Bonneville, lead the evenings proceedings with the stagiest of openings from Miss Smith. She performed Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, dancers and all.

The evening honoured the very best of British theatre covering musical, opera, plays and production genres. For the first time ever, the Olivier Awards were broadcast on mainstream television, featuring on ITV for an hour-long highlights programme. The show also streamed live from the Opera House on BBC Radio 2.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time dominated the awards, equalling the record by picking up seven Oliviers, including best actor for its star, Luke Treadaway. Curious Incident also won Best New Play with Marianne Elliott receiving best director and Spooks actor Nicola Walker, who plays the teenager’s mother in the original production, winning best supporting actress. During her acceptance speech Marianne Elliott said: “We took risks and we thought we would fail and it is a testament to subsidised theatre that we were allowed to think we might fail.”

The evening also saw British actress Helen Mirren win her first Olivier for her performance as the Queen in The Audience. Richard McCabe, who played Harold Wilson alongside Mirren, was named Best Supporting Actor. Sweeney Todd and Top Hat also won three awards each including Best Musical for Top Hat and Actor and Actress for Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton for Sweeney. Leigh Zimmerman, who celebrated her joint citizenship with Britain, won Best Supporting Musical Performance for her role in A Chorus Line at the London Palladium.The BBC Radio 2 audience award, celebrating long-running musicals, was awarded to Billy Elliot. Special awards were also given to choreographer and director Gillian Lynne and playwright Michael Frayn.

The evening also featured performances from Idina Menzel, Top Hat, A Chorus Line, Michael Ball and Heather Headley.

The Olivier Awards have grown in popularity and respect from around the world. No longer are they over-shadowed by the American Tony Awards, but have now become awards with recognition. The evening once again celebrated a vast array of talent from across the theatre arts world. It was great to see Curious Incident get the recognition it deserves and to celebrate not just performers on stage, but those off as well with Gillian Lynne.

No doubt The Book of Mormon will achieve well in the 2014 awards, and with the expected revival of  Miss Saigon and potentially even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical as well, next year’s awards will be full of different musical genres to please everyone.

See you in April 2014!


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 REVIVAL – Long Day’s Journey Into Night



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 House


OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AN 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

About William J Connolly

Theatre journalist | Ex: The Times Newspaper, London 2012 (PR) and Marketing Manager for CHTC (Sheffield Lyceum). Twitter: @WJConnolly