Olivier Awards with Mastercard 2023 announce recipients of Special Award and Lifetime Achievement Award

Two individuals have been honoured in the ‘Special Awards’ category of the Olivier Awards with Mastercard 2023, recognising their outstanding contributions to the theatre industry.

Dame Arlene Phillips has been awarded this year’s ‘Special Award’.

Arlene is a world-renowned choreographer and theatre director, honoured as a DBE for her services to dance and charity for over 45 years. Previously nominated for two Olivier Awards in the ‘Best Theatre Choreographer’ category, she is recognised for her considerable involvement with shows such as Starlight Express, Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

Arlene has also choreographed for high profile music videos (Whitney Houston, Elton John, Queen) and films (Annie, Ridley Scott’s Legend, Monty Python). She has been widely celebrated for her work on television, including her time as a judge on talent competitions Strictly Come Dancing, and So You Think You Can Dance, and as an events choreographer (BRIT Awards, The Royal Variety Show, Children in Need).

Sir Derek Jacobi receives this year’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his remarkable 60-year career on stage and screen.

Derek has garnered critical acclaim over his distinguished career and been the recipient of numerous accolades, including two Olivier Awards (Cyrano de Bergerac and Twelfth Night). He is also one of the founding members of the National Theatre, enlisted by Laurence Olivier himself. In 1994, Derek was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to theatre.

His lengthy career has known no bounds, from his famous affiliation with Shakespeare both in film and theatre (Hamlet, Romeo And Juliet, King Lear), to his notable roles on the small screen (Last Tango In Halifax, The Crown, Vicious). His other noteworthy cinema appearances include Gladiator, The Kings Speech and Murder On The Orient Express.

Claire Walker and Hannah Essex, co-CEOs of Society of London Theatre said:

“We would like to offer an enormous congratulations to the two recipients of the Special Awards – Dame Arlene Phillips, for her inspiring work in dance and choreography, and Sir Derek Jacobi, for his incredible, life-long service to the theatre as an actor.”

“This year’s honourees have inspired generations with their work, and it is a privilege to be able to publicly recognise them in this year’s awards.”

The Olivier Awards will take place on Sunday 2 April at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Hannah Waddingham.

The full list of nominees will be announced on February 28 at 2PM. Find the nomination announcement here.

Sir Derek Jacobi:

One of Britain’s most celebrated actors, both on stage and on screen, Sir Derek Jacobi has garnered critical acclaim over his distinguished career. Jacobi has appeared in numerous stage productions of William Shakespeare, including Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. Jacobi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including two Primetime Emmy Awards, a BAFTA TV Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Tony Award and three Evening Standard Awards. He has also been nominated for a further four BAFTA Awards, a Golden Globe and three Drama Desk Awards. In 1994, Jacobi was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to theatre.

Throughout his career, Jacobi has appeared in numerous acclaimed films, including OTHELLO (1965), HENRY V (1989), HAMLET (1996), GLADIATOR (2000), GOSFORD PARK (2001), THE KING’S SPEECH (2010), MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (2011), ANONYMOUS (2011), CINDERELLA (2015) and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2017).

Jacobi also starred alongside Ian McKellen in the ITV sitcom VICIOUS, and alongside Anne Reid in BBC drama LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX (2012 – 2020). Jacobi guest-starred as the Duke of Windsor in series three of THE CROWN (2019), and as Metatron in GOOD OMENS (2019 – 2022). Jacobi also starred as The Master in the rebooted Doctor Who series.

Dame Arlene Phillips:

Arlene is a world-renowned choreographer and theatre director, honoured as a DBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to dance and charity. Arlene’s prolific career credits include:

Director: The Cher Show, Lord of the Dance, Saturday Night Fever, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour, Hair at the London Palladium, EFX at the MGM Grand, Judy – The Songbook of Judy Garland, 27/Myth, Brazouka.

Choreographer (Musical Theatre): Guys and Dolls, Grease, Starlight Express, We Will Rock You, Saturday Night Fever, The Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, Flashdance, Jackie The Musical, What’s New Pussycat?, Joseph (USA), Jesus Christ Superstar (USA).

Choreographer (Plays): A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Alan Bennett’s Allelujah (Bridge Theatre, directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner).

Choreographer (Film): Annie (John Huston), Legend (Ridley Scott), Monty Python’s Meaning of Life (Terry Jones), Wind in the Willows (Terry Jones), Can’t Stop The Music (Nancy Walker), It Couldn’t Happen Here (The Pet Shop Boys), White Hunter, Black Heart (Clint Eastwood), The Hunger (Tony Scott), The Fan (Ed Bianchi), Salome’s Last Dance (Ken Russell).

Choreographer (Television): A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Russell T Davies), Kenny Everett Video Show, BBC2: The Entire Universe, Olivier Awards, An Evening with Michael Ball, BRIT Awards, The Royal Variety Show, Children in Need, Party in the Park, Party at the Palace.

Choreographer (Music Videos): Whitney Houston, Elton John, Queen, Freddie Mercury, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, AC/DC, Bee Gees, Duran Duran, Aretha Franklin, Culture Club, KISS, George Michael, Cliff Richard, Robbie Williams, Joan Jett, Olivia Newton John.

TV Judge: Dancing on Ice, Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance, Over The Rainbow, Strictly Dance Fever, DanceX, Let’s Dance for Comic Relief (BBC).

About the Olivier Awards, SOLT and Mastercard:

Established in 1976 and run by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), the Olivier Awardscelebrate the world-class status of London theatre and are regarded as Britain’s most prestigious stage honours.

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is a not-for-profit organisation which represents approximately 230 London-based producers, theatre owners and managers, including all the major subsidised theatrical organisations in London. SOLT runs the Olivier Awards, West End LIVE, TKTS, Theatre Tokens, Kids Week, the New Year Sale and Official London Theatre.

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. Follow us on Twitter: @MastercardUK

To find out more about this year’s Olivier Awards, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop