The highest-profile of these is undoubtedly the Audience Award for Most Popular Show, which has been created to recognize the contribution made by London's many first-rate long-running shows, which are not eligible for other Olivier Awards after their first year.
In order to qualify for the awards a show has to, at Jan. 1, 2002, have been running for at least a year, and to not have announced its closure.
The nominations for the award will be made by on-line audience voting, with theatregoers asked to visit the Olivier Awards website www.OlivierAwards.co.uk to vote for their favorite show. On Jan. 31, the four shows with the most votes will become the nominees for the Audience Award for Most Popular Show and the public will have the chance to vote for the winner on the Awards website. In addition, a telephone line will be available for public voting as part of the BBC's A Week in the West End program running from Feb. 11 to 14.
The two other new awards are for Most Promising Playwright and Most Promising Performer. These are designed to recognize the work of the Society of London Theatre's Affiliate Members, who represent the Almeida Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Tricycle Theatre and Young Vic Theatre.
The Olivier Awards for 2002 are sponsored by Hilton hotels, and will be presented at the Victoria Palace Theatre on Feb. 15.
For a full list of nominations click here.
—by Paul Webb Theatrenow