Helen Mirren in The Audience
Helen Mirren in The Audience

A major new exhibition in 2016/17 will celebrate theatre in London and New York, marking 40 years of the Olivier Awards.

Designed by Tom Piper, who designed the Tower of London poppy exhibition, Curtain Up! is a collaboration between the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), London's Victoria and Albert Museum and The Library for the Performing Arts.

Announcing the exhibition in New York this morning, London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Theatre is an essential part of the fantastic mix of culture and creativity that make London and New York such exciting and dynamic places to live, work and visit. This exciting new exhibition will celebrate the unique creative relationship that has blossomed between our great cities."

Curtain Up! will be exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London from February 2016, travelling to The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in Autumn 2016. It will showcase past award winners in "numerous fields across performance and design".

Helen Mirren, who last year won an Olivier Award for The Audience and is about to reprise her performance on Broadway, said: "Having been fortunate to work on both West End and Broadway stages, I am delighted that the exhibition, Curtain Up!, marking 40 years since the Olivier Awards were inaugurated, honours the shared artistic heritage which binds London and New York and showcases the alchemy of creative talent necessary to bring great productions to the stage on both sides of the Atlantic."

Accompanying the exhibition in both London and New York will be a "multi-strand education programme" to encourage young people with an interest in the performing arts.