Everything you need to know about this year's Olivier Awards

The ultimate guide to this Sunday’s big event

© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The biggest Oliviers ceremony ever

The Olivier Awards have come along way since they were first held in 1976. The first ceremony was held at the Cafe Royal in Soho, but have been held at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden since 2012. This Sunday will see theatre's finest swamp South Kensington as the red carpet is rolled out at the Royal Albert Hall, which has a capacity of over 5,000 people.

Actor and comedian Jason Manford is the host of this year's event, and the gongs will be handed out by the likes of Mark Rylance, Ben Forster, Sheena Easton, Matt Henry, Denise Gough and Nathan Lane.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child sets another record

Fresh of the back of February's WhatsOnStage Awards success, where it set the record for number of awards won for a play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has worked its magic once again to become the most nominated new play in Olivier history. It's up for 11 categories, including Best New Play, Best Set Design, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (for Noma Dumezweni).

The play's lead Jamie Parker faces fierce competition for Best Actor. He's up against Ed Harris for Buried Child, Tom Hollander for Travesties, and Ian McKellen for No Man's Land – his 10th Olivier nom.

Tim Minchin's Groundhog Day leads the way in the musical categories with eight nominations, and will battle it out with Dreamgirls, The Girls and School of Rock for Best New Musical.

Read the full list of nominations here.

Who's performing on the night?

Tim Minchin
Tim Minchin
(© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage)

• Best Actress in a Musical nominee Amber Riley will perform "And I Am Telling You" from Dreamgirls

• There will be a performance from Best New Musical nominated Groundhog Day, with the show's creator Tim Minchin taking a break from preparations for the Broadway transfer especially for the awards.

• Andrew Lloyd Webber fans are in for a treat: the cast of School of Rock will get the Albert Hall moshing, and before it returns to the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre this summer, there will be a performance from Jesus Christ Superstar.

Gary Barlow, Tim Firth and the Olivier-nominated cast of The Girls will deliver a unique performance of a song from the new musical.

• Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald, set to appear in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill this summer, will perform during the ceremony's In Memoriam section.

• There will also be an exclusive performance from Matthew Bourne‘s production of The Red Shoes, which is nominated for Best Entertainment and Family.

And presenters?

This year they've announced a glorious raft of excellent awards presenters which include talent from all over the place. Names include Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Boyega, Denise Gough, Michaela Coel, Andrew Garfield, Laura Mvula, Paul O'Grady, David Baddiel and many many more. Phew. We're getting over-excited just thinking about them.

Read the full list of presenters here.

Who's going to be on the red carpet

You can expect to see many of the nominees suited and booted, strutting their stuff on the carpet. We're talking Sheridan Smith, Amber Riley, Charlie Stemp, Rafe Spall, Ian McKellen, Billie Piper, Ruth Wilson… the list goes on.

But there are few other stars in town who might make it to the show. Will Andrew Garfield join his Angels in America colleagues Nathan Lane and Denise Gough. We even spotted Morgan Freeman at the opening of 42nd Street this week, but is he stagey enough for the Oliviers?

How to follow the awards

As ever, we'll be providing live updates across out Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so keep an eye out for the latest news, photos, videos from the red carpet and press room.

Viewers will be able to tune in to live coverage form the Olivier Awards red carpet from 4.30pm until 6pm, which is when the show begins. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Magic Radio (or Sirius XM in the States) on Sunday.

Highlights from this year's Olivier Awards will be shown on ITV in a prime-time slot on Tuesday 11 April from 8.00pm to 10.00pm.

Who's going to win?

Well obviously we can't tell you that (because we don't know), but our critic Sarah Crompton believes this year's winners are very hard to call.

We do already know one winner though. Kenneth Branagh will be recognised for his outstanding contribution to British theatre with the Special Achievement award.