The annual Awards - the only major theatre prize to be decided across all categories by the theatregoing public - have firmly established their place in the theatrical calendar with over 70,000 people voting last year alone.
Voting for both the nominations and eventual winners takes place online at our newly revamped awards microsite, designed and built by Feast Creative, at www.whatsonstage.com/awards.
Throughout November, theatregoers can log on to nominate their favourite performances and productions for Awards consideration across all 27 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, Theatre Event of the Year and Best West End Show, which applies to all current West End productions, including long-running blockbusters.
And, new for this year, there's a brand new category which specifically acknowledges the work of composers: Best Original Music (for more info see our full story).
The full Awards shortlists will be announced on Friday 7 December 2012 at a star-studded lunchtime ceremony at Cafe de Paris in the heart of the West End, featuring guest presenter Alistair McGowan and the cast of American Idiot (check back later this month for more line-up details!). Actor Ed Stoppard will also speak on behalf of this year's adopted charity, InterAct.
All professional productions – from Fringe to the West End – opened in London between 1 December 2011 and 30 November 2012 are eligible for nomination.
Our new awards site
Thanks to the work of our new industry sponsor Feast Creative, the new-look Whatsonstage.com Awards site is better looking and easier to use than ever before.
Feast's innovations have enabled us to be much more scrupulous at the nominations phase this year, with users aided by drop-down lists of productions and a far smoother submissions experience.
Feast Creative is a London based design studio specialising in graphics and websites in theatre and the arts, and we're delighted with the work they've done to help us - and you - get the most out of this year's Whatsonstage.com Awards.
Feast's Daniel Greenwood said: "It was an honour to be invited to work on this project for Whatsonstage.com and a real pleasure to work on. We're now really looking forward to seeing how the nominations and votes are cast!"CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE NEW-LOOK AWARDS SITE
Both Awards events are held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, InterAct, the lead project of The Stagecoach Charitable Trust.
The InterAct project is committed to providing inclusive workshops which create opportunities for underprivileged and disadvantaged youngsters to join mainstream children. Participants also develop and learn valuable "skills for life" by having the chance to engage in the arts, in order to develop their imagination through creativity.
InterAct’s ambassador, actor Ed Stoppard, said: “InterAct’s aim is to include as many children as we can in the activities of drama, music and movement, with the same key outcomes of drama workshops, developing self-expression, gaining confidence and building self esteem.”
Anyone wanting to support InterAct by making a donation please visit: http://wos.im/TqCtSx
Get involved, get invited
The Launch Party is an industry-only, by-invitation event. However, a limited number of members of the public can attend by becoming Individual Supporters. Private sponsorship packages – priced from £550 + VAT – include two invites to the Launch Party at Café de Paris as well as VIP tickets and post-show party passes to the Awards’ Concert at the Palace next February. For more information on Individual Supporter Packages, click here.
Full details about how we draw up the invitation lists for both Awards events can be found on the Awards site here. If you work in the theatre industry and think you should be invited, you can find contact information on that page. But, please note, because of limited space and resources, we cannot respond personally to all requests and the only way to guarantee access is by becoming a sponsor!
THANKS TO ALL OUR SPONSORS: