The 2024 Olivier Awards were held on 14 April 2024 at the Royal Albert Hall

Seven Up - Sunset Boulevard was the big winner at this year’s Olivier Awards, equalling the record for the most prizes for a musical at the ceremony. Its seven wins included best musical revival and acting awards for its stars Nicole Scherzinger and Tom Francis, plus best lighting design for Jack Knowles and best sound design for Adam Fisher.

The musical’s seven wins means it ties with Cabaret, Matilda and Hamilton for the most trophies ever for a musical in a single night. The revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was staged with a monochrome colour scheme and a minimalist set design. LSi’s current cover star, Sarah Snook, was also celebrated as Best Actress for her role in The Picture of Dorian Grayread our production report on the show in the April issue, out now. 

Petition - More than 160 leading lights of the UK’s creative sector including Beverley Knight, Ruthie Henshall and Matt Lucas are petitioning for an end to the Olivier Awards’ "failure" to recognise librettists, composers and lyricists. Six the Musical co-writer Toby Marlow and Sister Act star Ruth Jones are also among signatories to an open letter calling for the introduction of best score of a musical and best book of a musical categories in time for next year’s awards.

Bounce Back - Attendance across Andrew Lloyd Webber’s six West End venues rose by 23% last year to welcome 3.2m ticket holders in a post-lockdown bounce back. LW Theatres’ accounts, covering the period to July 2023, have revealed sales rose by 19% to £190.7m from £160.8m in 2022, with the boost attributed to the end of programming disruptions due to the pandemic. The group therefore made a profit after tax of £16.8m million, compared to £7.2m in the previous year, while box-office takings rose from £107.2m to £126.2m.

But the company, which forms part of Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, acknowledged the tricky economic outlook was taking effect on "demand for theatre tickets". In a strategic report posted to Companies House, LW Theatres officials noted: "We expect another full year of trading next year but anticipate our turnover and profitability will continue to be put under pressure by the cost-of-living crisis and high interest rates and the impact of these factors on consumer spending."

Rebranding - Ambassador Theatre Group has rebranded as ATG Entertainment to reflect the company’s growing portfolio of comedy, music and events. The move also sees the company unveil a new brand proposition under the title of Passion Behind Performance.

ATG Entertainment’s new chief executive Ted Stimpson said: "Now is the right time to change our name to ATG Entertainment, modernise our look and strengthen our brand proposition. Over the past few years, we have grown quickly and, with 64 venues and more than 11,500 people across Europe and North America, we are pleased to unify the group with a brand that reflects the breadth of our business today. We are all deeply committed to supporting our producers as they put on incredible productions that excite, move and touch our audiences and I believe this is perfectly captured with our new brand proposition Passion Behind Performance."

Bitter Blow - The planned closure of a theatre in Londonderry has been described as a "bitter blow". The Waterside Theatre has announced that it is to shut due to funding issues. The theatre was told earlier this month that it would not be receiving annual funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI). Chief executive officer of the theatre Iain Barr said the decision to close in June was taken "after careful consideration by the board and management of the organisation".

The ACNI said it had provided financial support to the Waterside Theatre for many years but that, unfortunately, the theatre had been unsuccessful in the latest funding round. The Arts Council added that it would continue to be "open to discussions on future sources of funding support".

(Jim Evans)

16 April 2024

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