The nominations phase in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, the only major theatre prize-giving to be decided by the public, opens today, Monday 3 November 2008. The annual Awards, now in their ninth year, have firmly established their place in the theatrical calendar with a record-breaking 25,000 people voting last year alone. Voting for both the nominations and eventual winners takes place online at awards.whatsonstage.com.

Throughout November, theatregoers can log on to nominate their favourite performances and productions for Awards consideration across all 25 categories. Amongst these are standards including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best New Play and Best New Musical as well as less conventional fields such as Best Ensemble Performance, Best Off-West End Production and Theatre Event of the Year. This year for the first time there’s also a new category for Lighting Design.

The full Awards shortlists will be announced on Friday 5 December 2008 at a lunchtime ceremony at the London Hippodrome, home of La Clique, in the heart of the West End. The exciting line-up of stars helping us to announce the nominations and entertain the industry audience includes guest presenters Graham Norton, Michael Ball and Mel Giedroyc and guest performers Lesley Garrett (singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel) and the Jersey Boys (See News, 30 Oct 2008).

After the launch party, the race is on to decide the eventual Theatregoers’ Choice Award winners, with voting opening on Monday 8 December and continuing until the end of January. The winners are then announced the week commencing 9 February, ahead of our second annual Awards Concert, held at a West End theatre where many winners will be presented with their trophies in front of a live audience of theatregoer voters.

In a year that’s seen big musicals like Jersey Boys, La Cage aux Folles and Marguerite, epic projects including the Royal Shakespeare Company Histories at the Roundhouse, the launch of the Donmar West End residency and the Old Vic’s transformation for Alan Ayckbourn’s trilogy The Norman Conquests, as well as acclaimed performances from Michael Gambon, Kenneth Branagh, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tamsin Greig, Ewan McGregor, Ralph Fiennes, Kelly Reilly, Kevin Spacey, David Walliams, Ian McDiamid, Penelope Keith, Jeff Goldblum, Josh Hartnett and many others, the 2009 Whatsonstage.com Awards are sure to be another hotly contested competition. Click here to remind yourself of some of the eligible productions that opened during the Awards year.

CLICK HERE TO NOMINATE YOUR FAVOURITES!

Our charity & sponsors

Both Awards events are held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, TheatreMAD (Theatre: Make a Difference) (See News, 12 Aug 2008). TheatreMAD and the Make A Difference Trust were founded this year to support those living with HIV, AIDS and other long-term conditions who are facing hardship. Through a programme of Midnight Matinees of hit West End shows, Late Night Cabarets, the World AIDS Day Theatre Bucket Collection Appeal – this year fronted by Michael Ball - as well as one-off Galas, the charity also raises funds to support those in need who have worked in theatre on-stage, front of house and back stage.

Whatsonstage.com is delighted to announce – particularly in light of the current credit crunch – that, for the 2009 Awards, we have received more industry support than ever before. Our sponsors include: theatre’s leading marketing and advertising agencies, AKA, Dewynters, EMG, Mobius and Target Live; Nick Hern Books, the UK’s leading independent theatre publishers and performing rights licensors; theatre and event ticketing providers Ambassador Tickets, See Tickets, Ticketmaster and Viagogo; stage lighting suppliers White Light; and casting directory Spotlight.

For more information on all of our corporate sponsors, please visit our awards microsite. For the first time this year, we’re also making a limited number of sponsorship packages available to individuals. For information on theatregoers’ packages, click here.

CLICK HERE TO NOMINATE YOUR FAVOURITES!


WITH THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS: