The Stage today announced the winners of the inaugural The Stage Debut Awards. The awards recognise the best breakthrough actors and creatives in theatre. The winners were announced at a ceremony at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London on September 17, 2017.

The Stage Debut Awards highlight breakthrough actors, writers, directors, designers and composers from across the UK to help cement their position in the industry. Nominations included nods to John Boyega for his role in Woyzeck [1] and Amber Riley for Dreamgirls [2]. Unfortunately on the night they were beaten by Bat Out of Hell star Andrew Polec who won The Joe Allen Best West End Debut award, the only category to have the winner decided by public vote.

But in better news, it was a win for recognising the best of British stage diversity with wins for the absolutely lovely Miram-Teak Lee who took home Best Actress in a Musical for On the Town [1] at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London. Best Director went to Lekan Lawal for Betrayal at Derby Theatre, Derby and Best Actor in a Play went to Abraham Popoola for Othello at Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol. Long may it continue.

The awards were hosted by actor and winner of ITV’s Superstar Ben Forster. Presenters at the awards included director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris, Olivier and Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage, Olivier Award-winning actor Noma Dumezweni, Olivier Award-winning actor Sharon D Clarke, School of Rock actor Preeya Kalidas, and Olivier Award-winning actor Kenneth Cranham.

Alistair Smith, editor of The Stage and member of the judging panel, said:

“The Stage Debut Awards celebrate new theatre talent, shining the spotlight on the stars of tomorrow. Our list of nominees showcases a wealth of talent from across the UK, with winners recognised for work produced in Bristol, Chichester, London, Derby, Sheffield and Manchester. Congratulations to them all.”

“It will be great to watch these breakthrough stars become even better known, with many surely destined to become household names. Some are already being widely recognised – Dan Gillespie Sells is preparing for the West End transfer of his musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and Miriam-Teak Lee will feature in the forthcoming West End production of Hamilton. We look forward to seeing our winners and nominees feature on Olivier, BAFTA and Oscar shortlists in future years.”

See the full winners’ list

  • Best Actor in a Play – Abraham Popoola for Othello at Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
  • Best Actress in a Play: sponsored by Pauline Quirke Academy at PQA Studios London – Grace Molony for The Country Girls at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester
  • Best Actor in a Musical: sponsored by Encore Radio – Samuel Thomas for Allegro at Southwark Playhouse, London
  • Best Actress in a Musical: sponsored by The Other Palace – Miriam-Teak Lee for On the Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London
  • Best Director: sponsored by See Tickets – Lekan Lawal for Betrayal at Derby Theatre, Derby
  • Best Designer: sponsored by Robe – Rosie Elnile for The Convert at the Gate Theatre, London
  • Best Composer: sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group – Dan Gillespie Sells for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
  • Best Writer – Katherine Soper for Wish List at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • The Joe Allen Best West End Debut – Andrew Polec for Bat Out of Hell at the London Coliseum

The Stage Debut Awards ceremony also included a presentation for the Alan Bates Award for best drama school graduate. It was presented to Georgia Frost by The Actors Centre chairman Paul Clayton.

The Stage Debut Awards is the flagship event of The Stage Supports. The Stage Supports is a series of groundbreaking interventions launched by The Stage, all with one aim: to nurture on and off-stage talent in theatre and the performing arts. The Stage Supports includes The Stage Scholarships, which gives away more than £500,000 worth of drama training every year.


References:

[1] – TBB Woyzeck review – http://thebritishblacklist.co.uk/72-outof100-john-boyega-impresses-as-woyzeck-the-old-vic/

[2] – TBB Dreamgirls review – http://thebritishblacklist.co.uk/100-outof100-dreamgirls-the-savoy-deserves-all-the-standing-ovations/