ONCE's Zrinka Cvitesic Wins West End Frame's 'Best Debut' Award

Following an exciting two week voting period it has been announced that Croatian born Zrinka Cviteši? has won the West End Frame Award for 'Best West End Debut' for making her West End debut as 'Girl' in Once at The Phoenix Theatre.

Zrinka said: "One of the main reasons that we are actors in the first place is because of our audience. Audiences who love us, criticise us and guide us. Coming to one of the best theatre cities and stages in the world, from a small country, was a huge and daunting step for me because I had no built-in audience. Nobody knew me. Thank you West End Frame, thank you West End colleagues and friends, and mostly - thank you to the audiences for making me feel that I belong here. One of the first lines my character says is 'Well, it's not even my language, this English!'. All I can say now is 'Well, it looks like it is now...!'."

Zrinka is a well established theatre, film and television actress. She has been a member of the Croatian National Theatre since 2005, some of the her roles have included Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Irina in Three Sisters, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Gwendoline in The Importance of Being Ernest.

No stranger to winning awards, Zrinka won The Heart of Sarajevo Award and Best Actress Awards at the Sarajevo Film Festival, the Golden Arena Festival and the Pula Film Festival for her performance in What is a Man Without a Moustache? For her performance as Luna in the award-winning On the Path she was named the Croatian Shooting Star at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival and also received a nomination in the Best Actress category at the 2010 European Film Awards. In 2010, Zrinka won 'Ples sa zvijezdama' which is the Croatian version of Strictly Come Dancing.

Rebecca Herszenhorn was voted second place for her performance of Val in the West End revival of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium while Oliver Tilney, who recently joined the West End production of Mamma Mia as Sky, comes third.

The other nominees included: Jared Gertner (Elder Cunningham, The Book of Mormon), Jill Winternitz (Frances 'Baby' Houseman, Dirty Dancing), Kristen Beth Williams (Dale Tremont, Top Hat), Rufus Hound (Francis Henshall, One Man, Two Guvnors), Sam Lupton (Boq, Wicked) and Seth Numrich (Chance Wayne, Sweet Bird Of Youth).

Based on the much-loved Oscar-winning film, Once is a celebration of love, friendship and music and opened in the West End earlier this year. When an Irish busker and a young Czech mother (played by Zrinka) meet through a shared love of music, their songwriting sparks a deep connection and a tender, longing romance that neither of them could have expected.

Best West End Debut is part of the 2013 West End Frame Awards. Unlike other theatre awards, West End Frame only opens voting for one category at a time. Last year's Best West End Debut Award was won by Shayne Ward who made his West End debut as Stacee Jaxx in Rock Of Ages at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Kimberley Walsh (Princess Fiona, Shrek) came second and Adam Pettigrew (Boq, Wicked) came third.

Details for the next West End Frame Award will be announced shortly.

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

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