The Whatsonstage.com Awards, the only major UK theatre awards decided across all categories by the public, have marked another first for 2013 with the introduction of a brand new category which specifically acknowledges the work of composers: Best Original Music, sponsored by Autograph, Europe’s leading theatre sound design and rental company.

The new category is one of over 20 in the Whatsonstage.com Awards, which are now entering their 13th year of celebrating the best of London theatre and beyond.

In addition to standard fields such as Best Actor, Best Actress, Best New Play and Best New Musical, the Whatsonstage.com Awards has a history of less traditional acknowledgements, such as Best Ensemble Performance, Theatre Event of the Year, Best Off-West End Production and Best West End Show, our award for long-runners which was introduced in 2009 and has since been emulated by other prize-givings.

Commenting on this year’s new Whatsonstage.com accolade, Terry Jardine, managing director of Autograph, said: “ A Best New Musical gong recognises the sum total of a production, but this new category is specifically about singling out the contribution that today’s composers make to the contemporary theatrical landscape. Best Original Music – which can apply to the increasingly music-infused soundscapes of many plays as well as musicals – is something that is already celebrated by many American awards bodies, including the Tonys. It’s very forward-thinking of Whatsonstage.com to be the first to introduce something similar in the UK.”

Terri Paddock, managing and editorial director of Whatsonstage.com, added: “We are proud to be able to add Best Original Music to the Whatsonstage.com Awards spectrum, with the support of Autograph. We look forward to seeing which shows our avid theatregoers will nominate for this prestigious new prize.”

Nominations open today (1 November) and continue until 31 November across all categories. Throughout the month, thousands of theatregoers will log on to Whatsonstage.com to try to put their favourite productions and performances in the Awards running. Shortlists are revealed in front of a star-studded audience at the annual Awards Launch Party on Friday 7 December. Voting for the winners is then launched and continues until 31 January. Winners are announced at the Awards Ceremony and Concert at the West End’s Palace Theatre on Sunday 17 February.

Both major Whatsonstage.com Awards events are held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, InterAct, which provides disabled and disadvantaged children with real opportunities to develop valuable skills for life through drama, movement and music workshops.

Digital Theatre does the double

In other sponsorship news, Digital Theatre, the pioneering company that brings live performances to a global audience by authentically filming them for downloadable viewing, is backing the two most prestigious performance prizes in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Awards: Best Actor in a Play and Best Actress in a Play.

Robert Delamere, co-founder and CEO of Digital Theatre, said: "Over the past three years we've worked with Britain's leading theatre companies to capture fantastic productions and incredible performances. We're thrilled to support the Whatsonstage.com Awards which give theatregoers a unique opportunity to recognise actors and actresses for their work. This has been a fantastic year in London theatre and we're delighted to be able to share it with a global audience."

Also new to the Awards roster this year are, to date: Best Set Designer sponsor, Feast Creative, who have already demonstrated their own design expertise on the new Awards microsite, live from today; leading theatrical insurers W&P Longreach; and newly launched marketing services company, Boom!Ents. Amongst the returning industry sponsors are: actors’ union Equity, Theatre Tokens (part of the Society of London Theatre), White Light, Youth Music Theatre, webcast partner Kinura and leading advertising agencies Dewynters and AKA, as well as the Whatsonstage.com Awards’ Official Hotel Partner, Radisson Blu, and Official Media Partner, Time Out London.


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