Next year's Laurence Olivier Awards will be held on 13 March 2011 it has been announced, with the ceremony at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane receiving "extensive" coverage on the BBC.

The Society of London Theatres (SOLT) who organise the awards have previously held the ceremony at the Grosvenor House and Hilton Hotels on Park Lane, but are taking the opportunity of returning to a theatre to stage "created specially theatrical entertainment" backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Full nominations for the Oliviers will be announced in early February 2011, with one category open to public voting - the Radio 2 Audience Award for the Most Popular Show. A nominees' lunch will be held at the Haymarket Hotel on 22 February 2011 for those in the running for an award.

Speaking about the 2011 event Nica Burns the President of SOLT said: "We are thrilled that the Oliviers are back in such a beautiful and historic theatre, which is symbolic of the central part that theatre has played in the life of the capital since Shakespeare's day. When all seems doom and gloom, London’s theatre goes from strength to strength. I am delighted that the BBC is giving the Awards the major coverage they truly deserve. British theatre is the envy of the world and we expect the 2011 Awards to be a triumph!"

The BBC are expected to cover the Olivier Awards across their television, radio and online news services. The move follows last year's live online streaming of the event, and a tie in with BBC Radio 2.

Last year's ceremony, which was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, saw a series of upsets on the night including Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem and Lucy Prebble's Enron pipped at the post for Best New Play, with the accolade being presented to 28-year-old American Katori Hall for Theatre503's The Mountaintop, a play has subsequently been staged in New York by a different cast.

There were also eyebrows raised over the big musical awards, which were split between Spring Awakening and Hello, Dolly!, both short-running musicals overcoming competition from screen-to-stage blockbusters Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Sister Act.

A week from today (Friday 3 December 2010) will be announcing the nominations for our own Awards, with nomination shortlists announced at a lunchtime ceremony at Cafe de Paris in the heart of the West End.

Now in their 11th year, our annual Awards have firmly established their place in the theatrical calendar with a record-breaking 46,000 people voting last year alone. Throughout November theatregoers have been submitting their nominations online, with nominations still open at

Two-time Awards Concert co-host and star of Legally Blonde, Sheridan Smith will help kick things off with aplomb in this year’s “theatregoers’ choice” campaign by performing at the Launch Party where the 25+ category nominees will also be announced.

The Launch Party is an industry-only, by-invitation event. However, a limited number of members of the public can attend by becoming Theatregoer Sponsors. Private sponsorship packages – priced at £500 + VAT – include two invites to the star-studded launch party at Café de Paris as well as VIP tickets and post-show party passes to the Winners’ Concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre next February.