Harry Potter And The Cursed Child looks set to clean up at this year's Oliver Awards.

The 41st annual ceremony recognising the crème de la crème of British theatre takes place at London's Royal Albert Hall this evening (9 April) hosted by comedian Jason Manford.

JK Rowling's stage play, which is a sequel to her series of beloved Harry Potter books, has received 11 nominations – the most for a new play in the ceremony's history.

The Palace Theatre-based show is in contention for some of the night's biggest prizes including best new play, best director, best set design, plus nods for Jamie Parker who plays Harry, Noma Dumezweni for her portrayal of Hermione and Anthony Boyle's Scorpius Malfoy – the scion to a family of evil magicians.

Speaking about Cursed Child's success, Boyle – who is nominated for best supporting actor – said, "They've done a survey and it's something like 60% of audiences are first-time theatregoers which is just amazing.

"To be giving people their first play, or their first experience of theatre, it's a really lovely thing to give that to people," he added to Sky News.

The first Harry Potter book was released in 1997 while Rowling was a single mother struggling to make ends meet.

Now the 51-year-old – who is believed to be wealthier than the Queen – has seven books about the boy wizard's adventures under her belt and eight Hollywood big screen adaptations starring Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson; as well as spin-offs, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its Hollywood adaptation.

She recently denied reports however that there are plans to turn Cursed Child into a film.

This evening's star-studded bash will see a number of live performances including Tim Minchin stage a song from his musical Groundhog Day. One of the stars of Dreamgirls, Amber Riley, will also be singing, and Gary Barlow will take to the stage alongside the cast of his musical The Girls.

Let It Shine
Gary Barlow pictured with his fellow Let It Shine judges plus hosts Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc BBC

Take That singer Barlow will no doubt already be giving thought to next year's awards as he gears up to debut new show The Band in a nationwide tour.

The 46-year-old sat on the judging panel for BBC One TV talent show Let It Shine in search of young male performers to star as a boyband in the hotly anticipated musical romp.