Matt Henry to Co-Host 2017 Olivier Award Nominations; Sir Kenneth Branagh Named Special Award Recipient.

British Blacklister Matt Henry and Denise Gough will announce the nominees for the 2017 Olivier Awards with Mastercard on Monday 6 March at 12:00 (GMT). The announcement will be broadcast live at 12:00 (GMT) via The Olivers Facebook page.

It’s a great choice, as they are both past Olivier winners themselves: After finishing 3rd in series 2 of The Voice, 2013, under the guidance of Team Will, then Team Jessie, Henry won the 2016 Best Actor In A Musical for his portrayal of Lola in Kinky Boots, The Musical at the Adelphi Theatre. With music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, the production also went on to win the Mastercard Best New Musical award. Gough won the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Actress for the acclaimed People, Places And Things (National Theatre).

The Olivier Awards ceremony is the biggest night in theatre, and the 2017 awards will take place on Sunday 9th April at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets are available to Mastercard holders.

Today, Sir Kenneth Branagh was announced as this year’s recipient of the Special Award. He is an acclaimed actor and director of stage and screen, and he received this award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to British theatre. He has a long history with the Olivier’s, having been awarded Best Newcomer in 1982, his career has since spanned stage, film and television where he has received acclaim as both an actor and director. We have a soft spot for Branagh, ever since he cast Denzel Washington as Don Pedro, the Prince, in 1993’s big screen Much Ado About Nothing. Then, it emerged in an earlier TBB interview with Lolita Chakrabarti and Adrian Lester that Branagh had been a stalwart supporter of Chakrabarti trying her hand as a playwright, which culminated in the highly acclaimed Red Velvet.

The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company took up residence at the Garrick Theatre to stage his inaugural West End season Plays at the Garrick, Red Velvet was included alongside such classics as The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer. Brannagh said, “Writing, direction and performance are exceptional in Red Velvet. I’m immensely proud to be presenting this work. I was aware of its development from its inception and believe Lolita Chakrabarti has written an important and exhilarating play which in its discussion of performance, politics, and race is as entertaining as it is illuminating.”

Lester was nominated in the 2016 Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his starring role and Chakrabarti was named most promising playwright.

Past recipients of the Special Award include Kevin Spacey, Stephen Sondheim, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. Caro Newling, President of the Society of London Theatre, said: “The Society of London Theatre is delighted to formally celebrate Kenneth Branagh’s outstanding contribution to London theatre. Whether acting or directing, there is no greater advocate for our industry”.

The Society of London Theatre, organisers of the Olivier Awards, will also be presenting four highly-respected industry figures: Victor and Lilian Hochhauser (joint recipients), Richard Bullimore and Frank Dunlop with Special Recognition Awards during the Nominees Celebration on Friday 10th March at Rosewood London.

Find out more about the 2017 Olivier Awards here.


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