The awards will be hosted by the Critics' Circle Drama section chairman Mark Shenton, London correspondent for Playbill.com and also theatre critic of the Sunday Express.
They are presented in the following nine categories: Best New Play; the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical; Best Actor; Best Actress; the John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance; Best Director; Best Designer; Most Promising Playwright; and Most Promising Newcomer other than a Playwright.
They are voted for by the entire membership of the Drama section of the Critics' Circle, by independent private vote, with no panel discussion or public/industry influence exerted. The Critics' Circle, established in 1913, is a professional association of critics of drama, music, the cinema, dance and art/architecture. Its objects are to promote the art of criticism and to uphold its integrity in practice, to foster and safeguard the interests of its members and to support the advancement of the arts.
The Theatre Awards were originally initiated in 1989 to honor London-based theatre, but took their current name in 1997 to recognise the nationwide reach of the critics' work.
For the sixth year, the ceremony is presented in association with Nyman Libson Paul Chartered Accountants, leading entertainment industry specialists; and supported by Delfont Mackintosh Theatres and lastminute.com.