Organisers of the Olivier Awards are proposing to limit the number of prize statuettes given out to producers of winning shows.
The move comes in response to a huge increase in demand, as the number of named producers working on commercial productions grows rapidly.
The Society of London Theatre confirmed to The Stage there had been a “number of requests for additional statues for winners this year” and the SOLT board had agreed to honour requests from named co-producers for the winning shows in 2019. However, there are proposals to limit the number available in future years.
“Over the autumn, SOLT will consult with its membership as to how to handle statue requests and numbers for future years,” a spokeswoman told The Stage.
Productions such as Company and Come from Away, which were both winners at this year’s awards, have multiple producers. Come from Away has nearly 50 named producers.
The Stage understands that many of these producers applied to have additional statuettes following their show’s win, at a cost of £800 a statue, resulting in unprecedented demand for Olivier statuettes.
However, SOLT board members were understood to have been split on whether this should be allowed, with an extraordinary meeting called earlier this month.
At this meeting, it was decided that while requests from this year’s winners would be honoured, proposals about how to deal with requests in future years would be put to the membership of SOLT.
The Stage understands that one proposal that will be put to members is that a limited number of the original awards – a bronze bust of Laurence Olivier as Henry V in the 1937 Old Vic production – will be made available for each winning show. If more statuettes are required, producers will only be able to purchase a different style of award statue for any extras.
Historically, the Olivier Awards tended to only present award statuettes to the creative talent of winning shows. This changed in the 1990s, when producers started to receive physical awards too. At the time, no regulations were put in place to govern the number of extra award statuettes available and what had originally resulted in one or two extra awards per winner has increased exponentially in recent years, as the number of producers associated with commercial productions has also grown rapidly.