Olivier Awards bow to pressure and launch music prize

The Olivier Award statuette
The Olivier Award statuette
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Musical supervisors and orchestrators have secured a victory in their campaign to be honoured at the Olivier Awards, with next year’s ceremony set to include a brand new prize category for which they will be eligible.

Campaigners have been calling on the Society of London Theatre to honour musical directors/supervisors and orchestrators since 2011, with leading figures – including Mike Dixon and Gareth Valentine – calling the lack of a category honouring their peers a “serious oversight”.

Now, SOLT has revealed plans to introduce an outstanding achievement in music category at next year’s ceremony, which it said “will bring together potential nominations across the music fields” including “composition of original music for plays, orchestration and musical supervision/direction”.

Dixon, whose credits include music supervisor of We Will Rock You and The Bodyguard, said: “The most important aspect of this award is that finally the Oliviers are respecting the fact that music and musicians play a central role in musical theatre. After a couple of years campaigning for some recognition for musical supervisors and musical directors I am really pleased that from next year there is an award that recognises the huge contribution to the industry that all musicians make.”

Valentine, who has worked on Chicago and Wicked, added that the “Olivier Awards exist to draw attention to and reward the very best in theatre” and said: “Musical theatre is a hefty part of that enterprise and to have this new award recognise the contribution of musicians is both timely and hugely welcome. I congratulate the board on so doing.”

Next year’s Olivier Awards will take place on April 13 at the Royal Opera House. The cut off for eligible shows is February 25, 2014.

SOLT said more details of plans for the awards will be announced in January next year.