Gillian Lynne CBE and Michael Frayn announced as Special Award winners at Olivier Awards 2013
25 March 2013
Former Olivier Award winners honoured for outstanding contribution to theatre
Acclaimed director-choreographer Gillian Lynne CBE, and multi-Olivier Award winning playwright and novelist Michael Frayn, will both receive Special Awards at this year’s Olivier Awards 2013 with MasterCard in celebration of their outstanding contribution to theatre and the Arts.
One of the most influential director-choreographers of our time, Gillian Lynne CBE started her career as a dancer with Sadler’s Wells Ballet before earning an international reputation for her innovative stage work, including bringing jazz dance to England with Dudley Moore and her company Collages, and directing the first working-class musical The Matchgirls.
Since then she has been responsible for staging and choreographing more than 50 Broadway, West End and international stage productions in addition to her work on 11 feature films and as an award-winning television director.
Most renowned for creating the iconic staging of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, Lynne continues to be actively involved in theatre. Her most recent production Dear World at the Charing Cross Theatre starring Betty Buckley opened in 2013 to critical acclaim.
Michael Frayn is best known as writer of the farce Noises Off and the dramas Copenhagen and Democracy, and his theatre achievements are all the more remarkable considering his illustrious literary career, making him one of only a few writers in the English language to have enjoyed commercial success in both drama and prose fiction. A keen student of philosophy, he has to date written seventeen plays for the stage and his works often use humour to tackle serious philosophical questions.
Frayn trained as a Russian interpreter at the Joint Services School for Linguists during his National Service and has put his language skills to great use throughout his career, studying the Russian playwright Chekhov and translating his last four plays. Frayn has also adapted Chekhov’s first play without a title as Wild Honey, and made a selection of his one-act plays and short stories under the title of The Sneeze.
Mark Rubinstein, President of the Society of London Theatre, said: “I am delighted that the Society of London Theatre has recognised the prolific work of Michael and Gillian who, in very different ways, have both had a vital and lasting influence on our theatre and dance stages. It is only fitting that these two ambassadors of British Theatre be recognised with the Special Award at this year’s ceremony.”
The nominations for the Olivier Awards with MasterCard – the most prestigious event in the UK’s theatrical calendar – will be announced on Tuesday 26 March at 11.30am as part of a special event at London’s Mayfair Hotel broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and featuring a performance from last year’s seven-time winners Matilda – The Musical.
The Special Award winners will be honoured at the star-studded Olivier Awards ceremony taking place at the Royal Opera House on Sunday 28 April, hosted by Hugh Bonneville and Sheridan Smith. The ceremony will be live on BBC Radio 2 from 6.30pm with a highlights package broadcast on ITV later in the evening.
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