Aidan Turner, Amara Okereke, and Katy Rudd Among Winners Of Stage Debut Awards

Aidan Turner, Amara Okereke, and Katy Rudd Among Winners Of Stage Debut Awards

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.

Upon winning the Joe Allen Best West End Debut award, Aidan Turner said: "Thank you to The Stage for this award and thank you to everyone who voted".

He offered "a special thank you to Michael Grandage, our director, you made it one of the most incredible jobs I've ever worked on and to have you at the helm of the ship was a pretty incredible experience".

Alistair Smith, Editor, The Stage said: "The Stage is delighted to recognise another great roll call of emerging theatrical talent. The winner of the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award, Aidan Turner, is already known to many for his work on the BBC's Poldark, but I have no doubt that our other superb winners will go on to achieve great things in theatre and beyond. They are the West End stars, groundbreaking artists and household names of tomorrow and we can't wait to see what they all do next".

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.

Leonard Blavatnik of headline sponsor Access Entertainment, said: "Access Entertainment is thrilled to sponsor The Stage Debut Awards this year, recognising and supporting the rising stars of the theatrical world."


THE STAGE DEBUT AWARDS' 2018 FULL WINNERS LIST

Best director
Sponsored by Smith and Williamson

Winner: Katy Rudd for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Also nominated:
Iwan Lewis for One Minute at the Barn, Cirencester
Alexandra Moxon for Wreck at Nottingham Playhouse
Oscar Pearce for Great Apes at the Arcola Theatre, London

Best actor in a play
Sponsored by Audible

Winner: Akshay Sharan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist at the Yard Theatre, London

Also nominated:
Seb Carrington for Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre, London
Chris Walley for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre, London
Alex Wilson for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Best composer or lyricist
Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group

Winner: Gus Gowland for Pieces of String at The Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Also nominated:
Kate Marlais for Abandon at the Lyric Hammersmith, London
Matt Winkworth for The Assassination of Katie Hopkins at Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Best actor in a musical
Sponsored by Encore Radio

Winner: Louis Gaunt for Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley

Also nominated:
Will Carey for It's Only Life at the Union Theatre, London
Toby Miles for Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre, London
Simon Oskarsson for Return to the Forbidden Planet at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

Best actress in a play
Sponsored by Audible

Winner: Gemma Dobson for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Also nominated:
Kitty Archer for One for Sorrow at The Royal Court Theatre, London
Lorna Fitzgerald for The Shadow Factory at NST City, Southampton
Grainne O'Mahony for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Best writer
Sponsored by InterTalent Rights Group

Winner: Andrew Thompson for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503, London

Also nominated:
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
Joe White for Mayfly at the Orange Tree Theatre, London

Best designer
Sponsored by Robe Lighting

Winner: Khadija Raza for Hijabi Monologues, Spun and Mixtape, at the Bush Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London and the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Also nominated:
Basia Binkowska for Devil With the Blue Dress at the Bunker Theatre, London
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 the Third Floor Back, Hanna and The Sleeper at Theatre503, London, the Finborough Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London, and Brighton Rialto

Best actress in a musical
Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe

Winner: Amara Okereke for Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre, London

Also nominated:
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

The Joe Allen Best West End Debut

Winner: Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre

Also nominated:
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
Adrienne Warren for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

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