Britain's Olivier Awards are planning to implement some sizable changes to their voting protocol, according to Variety. Like the Tony Awards in the U.S., the Olivier Awards recognize excellence in the country's professional theater each year. The sought-after awards, which were inaugurated in 1976, have gone to the likes of Harold Pinter, Judi Dench, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alan Ayckbourn, and Maggie Smith.
In the past, after the roughly 170 members of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) help create the short list of productions and artists in the running, the winners have been selected by just nine impartial industry professionals who make up the voting panel. Now, however, changes are in the works that will potentially allow all of the SOLT members a say in the final voting process.
A change of this kind will put the Olivier Awards' process closer to those of other big awards like the Tonys, BAFTAs, and Oscars, but there is concern that the awards may be compromised by the addition of more partial voters. For several years, the awards have leaned toward not-for-profit theaters, but with the addition of voters who have a stake in currently running, for-profit shows, it's likely that could change.
The 2013 Olivier Award nominees will be announced March 26 on BBC Radio 2.