Aidan Turner, Bryan Cranston And More Make Shortlist For The 2018 Stage Debut Awards

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Aidan Turner, Bryan Cranston And More Make Shortlist For The 2018 Stage Debut Awards

Alistair Smith, Editor, The Stage said: "After the huge success of The Stage Debut Awards' first outing in 2017, we're delighted to reveal another superb shortlist of emerging stars that ranges from first-time playwrights in pub theatres to regional directors and those making their debuts on the biggest West End stages. This list underlines the quite astonishing array of diverse talent breaking through in theatres of all scales and types across the UK."

As the shortlist for this year's The Stage Debut Awards 2018, in association with Access Entertainment, is announced below, voting opens for the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award 2018, the only award voted for by the general public. This award celebrates a first performance in London's West End.

Votes can be cast online HERE and voting closes at midnight on 16 September 2018. All award winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on Sunday 23 September 2018, which will be streamed live on The Stage's Facebook page.

Mark Shenton, Associate Editor, The Stage, said: "The shortlist for the West End debut award offers an eclectic but electrifying set of contributions, including three Tony Award winning stars (Bryan Cranston, Kelli O'Hara and Adrienne Warren, each of whom made their London debuts in the last year), an actor making his adult West End debut (John McCrea previously appeared in the West End as a child actor) and another who is already a national TV star (Poldark's Aidan Turner). But the West End is still a destination and a kind of validation for their talents, in which they join other theatrical newcomers to this global showcase like the co-writers of The Jungle and one of its principal actors. The nominating panel acknowledge them all; now it is up to the public to decide the winner."

Lyn Gardner, Associate Editor, The Stage, added: "I love The Stage Debut Awards. It feels both genuinely celebratory and useful to recognise people's talent at the start of their careers. There are plenty of awards which heap praise on the already successful, but The Stage Debut Awards are unique in giving a helping hand to those joining the profession. It has been a privilege to be part of the team helping to select the winners."

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 shortlist:

Best Actress In A Play - Sponsored by Audible
Kitty Archer for One for Sorrow at the Royal Court, London
Gemma Dobson for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Lorna Fitzgerald for The Shadow Factory at NST City, Southampton
Grainne O'Mahony for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic

Best Actor In A Play - Sponsored by Audible
Seb Carrington for Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre, London
Akshay Sharan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist at the Yard 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 Actor In A Musical - Sponsored by Encore Radio
Will Carey for It's Only Life at the Union Theatre, London
Louis Gaunt for Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley
Toby Miles for Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre, London
Simon Oskarsson for Return to the Forbidden Planet at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

Best Actress In A Musical - Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe
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
Amara Okereke for Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre, London

Best Director - Sponsored by Smith & Williamson
Iwan Lewis for One Minute at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester
Alexandra Moxon for Wreck at Nottingham Playhouse
Oscar Pearce for Great Apes at the Arcola Theatre, London
Katy Rudd for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Best Designer - Sponsored by Robe Lighting
Basia Binkowska for Devil with the Blue Dress at the Bunker Theatre, London
Khadija Raza for Hijabi Monologues, Spun, and Mixtape, at the Bush Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London and the Royal Exchange, Manchester
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 Third Floor Back, Hanna and The Sleeper at Theatre503, London, the Finborough Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London, and Rialto Theatre, Brighton

Best Composer or Lyricist - Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group
Gus Gowland for Pieces of String at The Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Kate Marlais for Abandon at the Lyric Hammersmith, London
Matt Winkworth for The Assassination of Katie Hopkins at Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Best Writer - Sponsored by InterTalent Rights Group
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
Andrew Thompson for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503, London
Joe White for Mayfly at the Orange Tree Theatre, London

The Joe Allen Best West End Debut
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
Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre
Adrienne Warren for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych 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.

The inaugural The Stage Debut Awards took place on September 17, 2017. Guests at the awards ceremony included the most influential figures in the performing arts world from Grammy and Olivier Award-winning actress Amber Riley to the director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris.


As well as live streaming the ceremony to thousands of eager viewers on Facebook, #DebutAwards was trending on Twitter for over 14 hours on the day of the ceremony. Check out the video of the evening below and to read more about the evening visit
The Stage website.

For full details on eligibility and the judging process see The Stage Debut Awards website.



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