Amara Okereke Wins at the Debut Stage Awards!

The Stage Debut Awards, in association with Access Entertainment, took place at 8 Northumberland Avenue on Sunday 23 September.

Amara Okereke won Best Actress In A Musical for her historic performance in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London, where she made history as the first British Blacktress / actress of colour to play the role of Cosette.

Performers and creatives taking home the prestigious awards this year included Akshay Sharan for his detailed performance in The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The Yard and Khadija Raza for, among other work, her stark staging and costumes for Hijabi Monologues at Bush Theatre.

The Stage Debut Awards celebrate the very best breakthrough talent in theatre, from actors and directors to designers, writers, composers and lyricists, all of whom have made their professional debuts in the past year. These awards are the first of their kind to recognise outstanding emerging talent.


Best Actress In A Play – Sponsored by Audible

  • Kitty Archer for One for Sorrow at the Royal Court, London
  • WINNER: Gemma Dobson for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
  • Lorna Fitzgerald for The Shadow Factory at NST City, Southampton
  • Grainne O’Mahony for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic

Best Actor In A Play – Sponsored by Audible

  • Seb Carrington for Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre, London
  • WINNER: Akshay Sharan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist at Yard Theatre, London
  • Chris Walley for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre, London
  • Alex Wilson for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic

Best Actor In A Musical – Sponsored by Encore Radio

  •  Will Carey for It’s Only Life at the Union Theatre, London
  •  WINNER: Louis Gaunt for Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley
  • Toby Miles for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London
  • Simon Oskarsson for Return to the Forbidden Planet at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

Best Actress In A Musical – Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe

  • Teleri Hughes for Spring Awakening at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
  • Eleanor Kane for Fun Home at the Young Vic, London
  • Rebecca Mendoza for Hairspray, on tour
  • WINNER: Amara Okereke for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London

Best Director – Sponsored by Smith & Williamson

  • Iwan Lewis for One Minute at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester
  •  Alexandra Moxon for Wreck at Nottingham Playhouse
  • Oscar Pearce for Great Apes at the Arcola Theatre, London
  • WINNER: Katy Rudd for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Best Designer – Sponsored by Robe Lighting

  • Basia Binkowska for Devil with the Blue Dress at the Bunker Theatre, London
  • WINNER: Khadija Raza for Hijabi Monologues, Spun, and Mixtape, at the Bush   Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London and the Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Fin Redshaw for Pieces of String and Love Me Now at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester and the Tristan Bates Theatre, London
  • Jasmine Swan for Hyem, The Passing of Third Floor Back, Hanna and The Sleeper at Theatre503, London, the Finborough Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London, and Rialto Theatre, Brighton

Best Composer or Lyricist – Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group

  • WINNER: Gus Gowland for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester
  • Kate Marlais for Abandon at the Lyric Hammersmith, London
  • Matt Winkworth for The Assassination of Katie Hopkins at Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Best Writer – Sponsored by InterTalent Rights Group

  • Georgia Christou for Yous Two at Hampstead Theatre, London
  • Kendall Feaver for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
  •  Natasha Gordon for Nine Night at the National Theatre, London
  • WINNER: Andrew Thompson for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503, London
  • Joe White for Mayfly at the Orange Tree Theatre, London

The Joe Allen Best West End Debut

  • Mohammad Amiri for The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre
  • Ashley Banjo for Dick Whittington at the London Palladium
  • Bryan Cranston for Network at the National Theatre
  • Michelle Greenidge for Nine Night at the National Theatre
  • John McCrea for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre
  • Kelli O’Hara for The King and I at the London Palladium
  • Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy for The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre
  • Lucie Shorthouse for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre
  • WINNER: Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre
  • Adrienne Warren for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

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