The Stage Debut Awards, in association with Access Entertainment, are thrilled to announce the 2018 winners, following the ceremony which took place at 8 Northumberland Avenue on Sunday 23 September, which was also streamed live on The Stage’s Facebook Page.
Poldark actor Aidan Turner won the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award for his performance in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre beating Tina: The Tina Turner Musical star Adrienne Warren, Diversity’s Ashley Banjo and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.
Performers and creatives taking home the prestigious awards this year also include: Amara Okereke for her iconic performance in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London, where she made history as the first actress of colour to play the role of Cosette; Katy Rudd for her direction of The Almighty Something at Manchester Royal Exchange; Akshay Sharan for his detailed performance in The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The Yard; Gus Gowland for composing a warm and evocative score for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester; Louis Gaunt for his impressive supporting role in Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera; Gemma Dobson for her vivacious performance in Rita, Sue and Bob Too which started life at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton; Andrew Thompson for his ambitious script for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre 503; 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.
And the winners are …
Best Actress In A Play – Sponsored by Audible
Gemma Dobson for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Best Actor In A Play – Sponsored by Audible
Akshay Sharan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist at Yard Theatre, London
Best Actor In A Musical – Sponsored by Encore Radio
Louis Gaunt for Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley
Best Actress In A Musical – Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe
Amara Okereke for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London
Best Director – Sponsored by Smith & Williamson
Katy Rudd for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Best Designer – Sponsored by Robe Lighting
Khadija Raza for Hijabi Monologues, Spun, and Mixtape, at the Bush Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London and the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Best Composer or Lyricist – Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group
Gus Gowland for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Best Writer – Sponsored by InterTalent Rights Group
Andrew Thompson for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503, London
The Joe Allen Best West End Debut
Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre