Three plays which received their premieres in London this year, Bruce Norris’ Evening Standard Award-winning Clybourne Park for the Royal Court, Mike Bartlett's Earthquakes in London which was produced at the National Theatre and Lynn Nottage's Ruined at the Almeida receive nominations in the drama category.
Andrew Scott who has been named as the theatre nominee in the Breakthrough category will compete with: Greg Davies (The Inbetweeners and a hit solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe) for Comedy; Nicholas Collon (principal conductor of Aurora Orchestra) for Classical Music; Brian Maloney (Royal Ballet soloist) for Dance; Clio Barnard (director of The Arbor about the life of playwirght Andrea Dunbar) for Film; Neel Mukherjee (with his debut novel A Life Apart) for Literature; Pumeza Matshikiza (lyric soprano) for Opera; Everything Everything (art rock band) for Music; Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey) for Television Drama; and Simon Fujiwara (Cartier Award-winning instalation artist) for Visual Art.
The 'final' South Bank Show Awards, which were awarded earlier this year in spite of the show's cancellation, honoured the Donmar Warehouse's production of A Streetcar Named Desire in its theatre category and David Bintley's E=mc² for Birmingham Royal Ballet for Dance.
Melvyn Bragg will return as editor and master of ceremonies for the awards and will front a series of profile documentaries around the winners, to air on Sky Arts in the weeks following the ceremony.
To celebrate their relaunch as The South Bank Sky Arts Awards, Andrew Lloyd Webber and his brother, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, have reworked the famous Paganini 24th Caprice theme tune from The South Bank Show documentary series. Turner Prize-winning sculptor Anish Kapoor has also been commissioned to designed statues for the winners in each of the 10 categories.
In a statement Bragg said of this year's awards: "The shortlist demonstrates the extraordinary wealth of achievement across the arts in the UK. It is fantastic to see the arts flourishing – and there has certainly never been a more important moment to celebrate the breadth and range of talent across the country. We are delighted that we can continue to honour the dedication of these artists."
Other categories covered in the South Bank Show Awards are: Pop, Film, Comedy, TV Drama, Classical Music, Visual Arts and Literature. An un-shortlisted award for Outstanding Achievement is announced on the day.