The Stage Debut Awards will find the stars of tomorrow on and off stage.

The Stage, the world’s oldest and best theatre publication, has today announced a new awards to recognise the best breakthrough actors and creatives in theatre. Anyone over the age of 16, making their professional theatre debut in the UK, is eligible.

The Stage has a long history of discovering and supporting breakthrough talent, having been the first to review Tom Hiddleston in his theatrical debut in 2005 for Yorgjin Oxo – The Man at Theatre 503, London. The Stage also gave Phoebe Waller-Bridge The Stage Edinburgh Award for her fringe show Fleabag in 2013. Meanwhile, Idris Elba secured his first acting role through The Stage newspaper.

Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage, said:

“It’s increasingly hard to break into a career in theatre – especially if you’re not from a privileged or well-connected background. So, with The Stage Debut Awards we wanted to launch an awards that recognise the best performers, directors, writers, composers and designers from across the UK at the very start of their careers. The awards will serve as a launchpad for our winners and nominees and will help theatre retain the best and most diverse talent at a time when it can be a real struggle for emerging talent to make a name for themselves.”

David Grindrod, casting director for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and West End productions of School of Rock and Sunset Boulevard, said:

“Theatre is in need of a platform to celebrate the stars of tomorrow and help encourage a wider pool of talent. These awards have the power to change everything for the recipients and accelerate their careers. I am proud to be an ambassador for an initiative that actively champions diverse talent from across the UK and am excited to see the effect it will have on our industry.”

Idris Elba stated in an interview that he got his first acting job after replying to an ad he found in The Stage newspaper. This was for a production at the Old Red Lion pub theatre. The full interview can be found here.

David Grindrod will also be involved in the judging process for The Stage Debut Awards.

As well as acting talent, up-and-coming theatre directors, writers, designers and composers will be celebrated. The Stage Debut Awards will also include a Best West End Debut, the winner of which will be voted for by the public from a shortlist decided by The Stage’s judging panel.

Categories open for nominations include:

Breakthrough talent can be nominated for consideration by the judging panel at thestage.co.uk/debuts. The deadline for nominations is July 30, 2017.

Best Actor in a Play | Best Actress in a Play | Best Actor in a Musical | Best Actress in a Musical | Best Director | Best Designer | Best Composer | Best Writer | Best West End Debut

The Stage Debut Awards ceremony will also include a presentation for the Alan Bates Award for best drama school graduate. 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.


Shortlisted nominees will be announced in August, and invited to a star-studded awards ceremony at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London on September 17, 2017, when the winners will be revealed. To find out more and make your nominations go to: thestage.co.uk/debut-awards/

To find out more about The Stage Supports visit thestage.co.uk/supports.