Ian McKellen offers his voice as a prize on behalf of Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass, this year’s adopted charity, at the Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert this Sunday 14 February 2010 at 7pm at the West End’s 1200-seat Prince of Wales Theatre.

Every year, Whatsonstage.com adopts a different arts-related charity to showcase as part of the four-month Awards campaign, with the aim of raising both funds and awareness for what they do. In addition to online and print exposure, both Awards events – the industry-attended Launch Party to announce shortlists in December and Sunday’s Concert to present winners’ trophies in front of a packed audience of theatregoer-voters – are held in aid of Masterclass, a charity which gives young people the chance to learn from and be inspired by leading artists.

As part of their involvement, Masterclass, which is based at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, have fully entered into the fun and interactive spirit of the Awards by organising a fantastic raffle for those attending the Concert. Up for grabs if you purchase raffle tickets, priced £2, on the night are:

  • Afternoon tea for two at the Haymarket Hotel and tickets to Sean Mathias’ acclaimed production of Waiting for Godot, back for a second season ato the Theatre Royal Haymarket, starring McKellen and Roger Rees
  • A luxurious overnight stay for two at the Haymarket Hotel (including breakfast)
  • And a “money-can’t-buy” personalised voicemail message recorded by Ian McKellen
McKellen will also be speaking on behalf of the charity at the Concert, which he’s attending with his original Godot co-star Patrick Stewart, with whom he’s been nominated in this year’s Awards for Theatre Event of the Year for their pairing in Godot’s first season at the Haymarket last spring. Other members of the current cast - Roger Rees, Matthew Kelly and Ronald Pickup – will accompany McKellen and Stewart.

McKellen is no stranger to the Whatsonstage.com Awards. He scooped Best Actor in a Play for Trevor Nunn’s RSC production of King Lear in the 2008 prize-giving – when, coincidentally, his chief rival was Patrick Stewart for his title role in another Shakespeare, Rupert Goold’s production of Macbeth. He’s also previously nabbed the Theatre Event of the Year trophy for making his pantomime dame debut in Aladdin at the Old Vic.

Note to ALL Concert attendees: Be sure to arrive in good time and look out for the army of Masterclass volunteers who will be selling raffle tickets before the show and at the interval. The raffle will be drawn by Concert co-hosts Christopher Biggins and Mel Giedroyc during Act Two.

In addition to trophy presentations, the full Concert entertainment on Sunday includes performances by (See News, 2 Feb 2010): Jodie Prenger, Hannah Waddingham, Charlotte Wakefield, Alexia Khadime, Ryan Molloy, Leanne Jones, Nancy Sullivan, Sally Ann Triplett, Michael Xavier, Siobhan McCarthy, Stephen Carlile, Mazz Murray, Anna Jane Casey, Lucy May Barker, Adam Ellis, Gina Murray, Emma Kershaw, the casts of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Pirates of Penzance - and much more!

And who will be collecting trophies? Voting has now closed – with a record 46,000 people having taken part! - but the winners remain a secret until the night. Amongst the nominees and other guests due to attend the event are: Alison Steadman, Alistair McGowan, Amanda Drew, Barnaby Kay, Carol Macready, Charlotte Wakefield, Clive Carter, Daniel Crossley, David Dawson, Diana Vickers, Fiona Shaw, Gabriel Vick, Hannah Waddingham, Ian McKellen, Jaime Winstone, Jane Horrocks, Jason Donovan, Jez Butterworth, Jodie Prenger, Johanna Town, John Shrapnel, Julian Ovenden, Kate Fleetwood, Lesley Garrett, Lesley Sharp, Lynda Bellingham, Mackenzie Crook, Mark Rylance, Mark Henderson, Michael Wynne, Miriam Margolyes, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Thornton, Patina Miller, Patrick Stewart, Peter McKintosh, Roger Allam, Rupert Goold, Ruth Wilson, Samantha Spiro, Sam Peter Jackson, Tim Firth, Tony Sheldon, Trevor Nunn and William Dudley.

The Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert is completely sold out. Once our guest list is finalised, we hope to release a handful of top-price £42.50 reserve tickets this afternoon, Friday 12 February. To be alerted as soon as these go on sale, please click here join the waiting list! Over the weekend, you can also try calling the Prince of Wales
box office on 0844 482 5133 in case of returns.


What happens when?

If you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to the Concert, you can still follow the action in our TENTH ANNUAL Whatsonstage.com Awards online! Full results – including final voting percentages – will be published on the website at 7pm on Sunday night to coincide with the ceremony commencement at the Prince of Wales. And throughout the night, our correspondents will be Tweeting with updates from the concert, press room and post-show party. On Monday, we’ll follow up with extensive photo and video coverage as well.

So do keep watching this space – and particularly logging on to Whatsonstage.com Awards microsite for all the very latest!