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"It's time to overhaul the Olivier Awards"

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Scripps2
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Michael Billington seems to be taking up my cause...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2009/mar/09/olivier-awards

...shame it isn't whichever non-entity government minister is in charge of the arts.
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MamasDoin'Fine
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Great piece.
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bob8rich
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Yes. To have awards that are meant to be of some great importance and then present them clandestinely with virtually no media coverage so as to suggest they are of very little importance is nothing short of madness. Awards are always going to be purely subjective and there is a valid argument to suggest you should not have them at all. But if you do decide to have them, they should be given optimum coverage. The Tony Awards, although something of a circus, give huge coverage to Broadway theatre nationwide which is bound to increase box office sales. If the same is done with the Oliviers, it is likely to have a similar positive effect on ticket sales for shows. The bottom line is that theatre , if it is to survive, is a business and the Oliviers could and should provide a major opportunity for marketing as well as honouring achievement.

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Phantom of London
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I agree with the Olivier should stay London based, if the Olivier awards go country wide, it be impossible for the 'unpaid public members of the panel' to judge all shows.

I think it is shocking that the Oliver for best director has only been won twice by a musical (Tommy and Guys and Dolls)!

carriesparkle
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Mm. I'm sort of in two minds about the Billington piece. On the one hand, as you may remember from last weekend, the organisation of the evening wasn't terrific, and I think a long hard look at the way it's run and managed is a necessity. On the other, his logic is so patchy it makes my head explode. Plus the fact that I suspect that if he were given the choice, there'd be no awards for musicals at all.
Spotlight61
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Having read Michael's piece I feel it really doesn't present an argument to support his article.

His argument that the Olivier's is too London centric is based upon them originally being the SWET Awards (The Society of West End Theatre Awards). The Olivier panel has extended the awards beyond the immediate West End by having affiliate nominations .i.e Theatre Royal, Stratford East and The Hackney Empire (this year Clive Rowe's performance as Mother Goose).

Scotland has it's own awards, if my memory serves me well, as does Manchester (MEN) and London (Evening Standard) the latter two sponsored by the regional newspapers of these great cities. In addition to this we also have the TMA Awards, which help to raise the profile of regional theatre and rightly so.

Billington appears to suggest that we have a national awards show for theatre per se. I don't see this happening and nor should it. The West End is a specific business entity and is prestigious and a focal point for not only tourists but for professional's internationally who dream of playing upon a West End stage!

I accept that we could increase the number of awards issued by the Olivier committee to include off West End and Fringe theatre awards. Two additional catergories that wouldn't add too much to the tedium of the awards night.

It is interesting that the final awards presented on the night are those of Best Actor/Actress in a musical and Best Musical award, with the serious acting catergories coming half way through the evening, how the balance of what is popular has shifted over the years.

I have long argued for the awards to be more spectatcular and used as a marketing tool for what is the best in theatre. The Olivier's appear to be too solemn and not celebratory of what is great in theatre.
exedore
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I must be a heathen. I find it makes perfect sense that the Oliviers are limited to large (and largely commercial) London venues much the same way the Tonys are limited to Broadway. Sure you have the regional award but for the most part the awards are defined by a limited set of venues and productions.

Of course, part of the problem stems from the fact that the definitions are ill-defined in London. And from the fact that Mr. Billington seems to pine for the 1950's when regional rep was the place to be.
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Scripps2
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"we also have the TMA Awards, which help to raise the profile of regional theatre and rightly so."

Never heard of them - and I've been theatregoing in London and the regions for most of my life.

There are too many unimportant awards ceremonies whilst the one that is important completely fails to promote London theatre in the way it should.

The SoLT comes across as being run by a bunch of exhausted, clueless, inward-looking, smug old codgers who couldn't organise a booze-up in the proverbial.

"Mr. Billington seems to pine for the 1950's when regional rep was the place to be."

Was it? I didn't realise you were that old Exey!

More likely - he's probably aware of the great stuff that has been done at the Manchester Royal Exchange, the Sheffield Crucible and the West Yorkshire Playhouse over the last ten years, just to name those on my own stomping ground.

There's more to the regions than Chichester's Music Man. re: 'It's time to overhaul the Olivier Awards'

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legallysam
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"There's more to the regions than Chichester's Music Man.re: 'It's time to overhaul the Olivier Awards'"

:O no way!!
"Rock Of Ages is about as original as gay men at a clap clinic" - SANDM2
exedore
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See, the problem with thinking of "the regions" is that it implies there's something to England outside of London which, as we all know, is merely fantasy territory. There's nothing between the M25 and the Welsh and Scottish borders.
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Scripps2
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Underpaid, under-sexed and over here!
Spotlight61
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Dear Scripps", I am surprised that you haven't heard of the Theatre Management Association Awards, they have been recognising excellence in British regional theatre for some years now.

I attach the following link, as a theatregoer of many years both in London and the regions then they might be of interest to you.

http://www.tmauk.org/awards/
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Scripps2
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Thank you.

There are some interesting and good decisions there.

It doesn't alter my opinion that the Olivier Awards completely fail to give London theatre the huge all-embracing bear hug it deserves and instead merely serves up a polite peck on the cheek.