The Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall
© Simon Hadleigh-Sparks / flickr

What are the Olivier Awards?

Only one of the biggest nights of the year in the theatre calendar – when the cream of the theatre crop come together and celebrate the performing arts in London. They've been running since 1976, and winning an Olivier Award is a stamp of theatrical success.

The awards, happening on Sunday 8 April, will be returning to the 5000-seater Royal Albert Hall with the ceremony kicking off at 6pm, and the red carpet opening from 4pm.

And who's presenting?

Actor and comedian Catherine Tate will be hosting this year, emceeing the event and ushering the individual presenters on and off stage.

The presenters themselves giving out the awards include Sharon D Clarke, Patti LuPone, Beverley Knight, Anne-Marie Duff, Jonathan Benjamin Hickey, Tom Fletcher, Ronan Keating, Harriet Scott, Joe McFadden, Mel Giedroyc, Nina Sosanya, Meera Syal, Indira Varma, Cuba Gooding Jr, Jason Robert Brown, Alexandra Burke, Michael Sheen, Andy Karl, Alfred Enoch, Chita Rivera, Juliet Stevenson, Alfred Molina, Pearl Mackie, Ophelia Lovibond, Georgina Campbell, the three Effies Karen Mav, Moya Angela and Marisha Wallace and Sergei Polunin.

History has its eyes on Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda's show wasn't eligible for this year's WhatsOnStage Awards due to its delayed opening, so the Olivier Awards will be the first time Hamilton gets a chance to win a British statue. And so far it hasn't disappointed – after netting a record-breaking 13 nominations, the show looks like it has a strong chance of besting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which won nine in 2017) and taking away the most awards in history.

But will it make the main story of the night? Our co-chief critic Matt Trueman isn't so sure – read more about that here.

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Who else is nominated?

While Hamilton may be leading the musical categories, it's Dominic Cooke's National Theatre production of Follies that stands as its main competitor. With ten nominations and a crack cast of big names including Imelda Staunton, Tracie Bennett and Janie Dee, Follies may end up with a big haul at the end of the night.

On the play side of proceedings, there's a lot of momentum behind The Ferryman. Jez Butterworth's play, set during the Irish troubles, picked up three WhatsOnStage Awards in February, and with eight nominations for Sunday's awards, it looks as though the night may belong to Butterworth.

Other shows with multiple nominations include Marianne Elliott's epic revival of Angels in America (six), homegrown musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie (five), Bob Dylan-inspired piece Girl From the North Country (also five) and four for the Almeida production of Ink and the National's Network.

Read the full list of nominations here.

Who's performing on the night?

Hamilton. Who else would you expect to open the Olivier Awards than the biggest West End opening of 2017? The cast of the show, including Rachelle Ann Go, Giles Terera, Jason Pennycooke and Tarinn Callender (alongside the titular lead Jamael Westman) will be performing "Alexander Hamilton" at the start of the event.

• Broadway legend Chita Rivera will mark the 60th anniversary of the West End opening of West Side Story with a special performance of Somewhere, accompanied by two previous Olivier Award winners – Groundhog Day weatherman Andy Karl and Dreamgirls charmer Adam J Bernard.

• There will be a special medley from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat to mark the musical's 50th birthday – with guest stars in attendance including Jason Donovan, Linzi Hateley and Lee Mead. We're also hoping Phillip Schofield might appear.

See the full line-up of performers on the night

Who will be on the red carpet?

You name them, they'll probably be there – there's sure to be appearances from the casts of Hamilton, 42nd Street, Follies and Everybody's Talking About Jamie. Nominated stars making the headlines the next day will probably include Andrew Garfield, Bryan Cranston, Imogen Poots, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Lesley Manville and Shirley Henderson.

Beyond that, who knows – you'll have to tune into the WhatsOnStage coverage to find out live as it happens!

Catherine Tate will host the awards
Catherine Tate will host the awards
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

How can I stay in the loop?

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

The event won't be broadcast live, but a highlights video will be broadcast on ITV1 at 10.20pm on Sunday 8 April. They will also be streamed online at the same on the Olivier Awards Facebook page, so theatre lovers from across the world will be able to share in the magic.