Just a month after shortlists were announced at our star-studded Launch Party on 5 December (See Photos, 7 Dec 2009), more than 25,000 people have already voted online in the tenth annual Whatsonstage.com Awards, aka the “theatregoers’ choice” and the only major theatre awards voted for by the paying public.

Amongst the performers and productions that have taken strong early leads are: Jude Law, Patrick Stewart, Miriam Margolyes, Rowan Atkinson, Patina Miller, Jodie Prenger, Derren Brown, John Barrowman, Diana Vickers, Calendar Girls, Jerusalem and Oliver!, while this year’s new category, Best West End Show, which is sponsored by Groupline and applies to long-running as well as new productions, has become an increasingly tight two-horse race between War Horse and Wicked.

There’s still plenty of time for upsets for those and other frontrunners. Voting continues until 31 January 2010. To maintain an element of surprise, results will now be hidden until 7pm on Sunday 14 February 2010 when winners will be announced and trophies presented at our Awards Concert at the West End's Prince of Wales Theatre (home of Mamma Mia!).

Concert tickets, which range from £20-£42.50, are now on sale and can be booked by phone on 0844 482 5133 or online at www.whatsonstage.com/concert.

As with last month’s Launch Party, the Awards Concert is held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass, which gives young people the chance to learn from and be inspired by leading artists (See News, 29 Sep 2009). Set up by the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1998, the hugely successful Masterclass programme has now welcomed over 40,000 people aged 17-30. Events are given free of charge and occur at least one Friday a month throughout the year, focusing on all aspects of theatre from acting and directing to writing and producing.

Though Masterclass events are designed for those at the start of their careers, theatregoers and others, of whatever age, are also welcome. The Masterclass Benefactor scheme (priced £55 per annum – reduced to £45 for members of the Whatsonstage.com Theatre Club) has been set up for this purpose. It includes: access to over 12 events a year, an annual friends’ party and special ticket offers for Theatre Royal Haymarket productions.