The Stage Debut Awards, in association with Access Entertainment, are the only awards to recognise breakthrough theatre talent.

Celebrating emerging actors and creatives, from all backgrounds, categories include Best Performer in a Play, Best Performer in a Musical, Best Director, Best Designer, Best Composer or Lyricist, Best Writer, Best Creative West End Debut and Best West End Debut Performer – this last category being the only one in which the winner is determined by an online public vote.

The shortlist for this year’s Best West End Debut Performer includes Wendell Pierce for his performance as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman at Piccadilly Theatre and former X-Factor star Shan Ako for her performance as Eponine in Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre.  Votes can be cast online here and close at midday on Wednesday 26th August.

Winners will be announced online on Sunday 27th September at 7pm via a virtual ceremony which everyone can watch for free from their homes on The Stage website or Facebook Page.

The categories with Black talent nominated are as follows:

Best Performer in a Play – sponsored by Audible

  • Saida Ahmed for Little Miss Burden at The Bunker, London 
  • Katie Erich for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse  (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
  • Brooklyn Melvin for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
  • Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse, London
  • Rachel Nwokoro for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
  • Jessica Rhodes for The Sugar Syndrome at the Orange Tree Theatre, London 
  • Khai Shaw for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London 
  • Bobby Stallwood for Faith, Hope and Charity at the National Theatre, London  

Best Performer in a Musical

  • Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre, London
  • Lucy Anderson for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London 
  • Chase Brown for Mame at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
  • Oli Higginson for The Last Five Years at the Southwark Playhouse, London 
  • Adriana Ivelisse for West Side Story at Curve, Leicester 
  • Tom Noyes for Preludes at the Southwark Playhouse, London 
  • Bethany Tennick for Islander at the Southwark Playhouse, London 
  • Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London

Best Writer

  • Samuel Bailey for Shook at the Southwark Playhouse, London  
  • Mari Izzard for Hela at The Other Room, Cardiff 
  • Eleanor Tindall for Before I Was a Bear at The Bunker, London 
  • Temi Wilkey for The High Table at the Bush Theatre, London (in a co-production with Birmingham Rep)

Best West End Debut Performer – sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment

  • Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre
  • MyAnna Buring for A Very Expensive Poison at the Old Vic Theatre
  • David Mitchell for The Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre
  • Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse
  • Samantha Pauly for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
  • Wendell Pierce for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre
  • Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre
  • Aimee Lou Wood for Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre

Best Creative West End Debut – sponsored by the Noël Coward Foundation

  • Fabian Aloise (choreographer) for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
  • Nadia Latif (director) for Fairview at the Young Vic Theatre
  • Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson (composer, lyricist & book) for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre
  • Femi Temowo (composer) for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre and for Three Sisters at the National Theatre
  • David West Read (book) for & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre

Find out more about The Stage Debut Awards here.