Sheridan Smith to host Olivier awards in first major TV broadcast for ten years

The prestigious theatre awards will air on ITV on April 28, live from London’s Royal Opera House

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Sheridan Smith to host Olivier awards in first major TV broadcast for ten years
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Paul Jones

Two-time Laurence Olivier Award winner Sheridan Smith is to host the first mainstream television coverage of the ceremony since 2003.

Smith, who won best actress in a musical in 2011 as the star of Legally Blonde, followed by best performance in a supporting role last year, will present the show on ITV with an as-yet-unnamed co-host, live from London’s Royal Opera House on April 28.

The ceremony will also feature the voice of fellow double Olivier Award winner Julia McKenzie.

BBC2 was the last television channel to show the prestigious theatre awards, in 2003, but last year's BBC red button coverage drew a total audience of 860,000, prompting the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), which organises the event, to seek a bigger platform.

Speaking to The Stage after the viewing figures were announced, SOLT chief executive Julian Bird said: “We hope this shows the strong demand there is for such a programme – in the future the BBC might consider putting it on one of its mainstream channels.”

Launched in 1976, the Laurence Olivier Awards were originally called the Society of West End Theatre Awards after SOLT’s predecessor. They were renamed in honour of the legendary British actor in 1984, five years before his death.

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