Amber Riley, Charlie Stemp, Audra McDonald and John Boyega Lead New Stage Awards

DEBUT AWARDS Official sponsor

Big stars like Audra McDonald, John Boyega and Amber Riley line up alongside newcomers like Charlie Stemp on the shortlist for The Stage Debut Awards.

The shortlist for the 2017 Stage Debut Awards has been announced.

First-time performances from actors as young as 16 and established stars making their theatre debuts such as The Feeling's Dan Gillespie Sells are among the nominations.

Meanwhile in The Joe Allen Best West End Debut category, nominees include Star Wars’ John Boyega, Glee’s Amber Riley, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Anthony Boyle.

Amber Riley in Dreamgirls
Amber Riley in Dreamgirls

 

Lyn Gardner, The Stage's associate editor and one of the judges, said:

"The Stage Debut Awards are a unique chance to celebrate emerging theatre talent.

"With so much great theatre taking place across the country, we have a really strong and diverse set of nominees – from young actors making their debuts in small fringe theatres to designers, writers and directors at major regional and national producing theatres.

"It’s great to see such a great range of talented theatremakers and gives cause for great optimism about the future of theatre in the UK."

Charlie Stemp at the WhatsOnStage Awards
Charlie Stemp at the WhatsOnStage Awards

 

The Joe Allen Best West End Debut category is the only award to have the winner decided by public vote, and voting is now open. The Joe Allen Best West End Debut celebrates a first performance in London’s West End (rather than their professional debut). 

The shortlist for The Joe Allen Best West End Debut is:

  • John Boyega, Woyzeck
  • Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Andy Karl, Groundhog Day
  • Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
  • Andrew Polec, Bat Out of Hell
  • Imogen Poots, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Amber Riley, Dreamgirls
  • Charlie Stemp, Half A Sixpence
Audra McDonald - photo credit Michael Wilson
Audra McDonald - photo credit Michael Wilson

 

Mark Shenton, The Stage's associate editor, joint lead critic and one of the judges, said:

"While the other categories in The Stage Debut Awards only recognise complete newcomers, the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award is a chance to celebrate talent making their mark in the West End for the first time.

"We have a really great shortlist that ranges from genuine newcomers like Anthony Boyle, who made his professional debut in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, to Audra McDonald, a legend on Broadway making her belated West End debut in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.

"This is also the only category that will be put to the public vote, but whoever they chose will be a worthy winner."

Here is the full shortlist for all the awards:

 

Best Actor in a Musical - sponsored by Encore Radio

  • Adam J Bernard for Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre, London
  • Ben Hunter for The Girls at the Phoenix Theatre, London
  • Samuel Thomas for Allegro at Southwark Playhouse, London
  • Daniel Urch for 110 in the Shade at Ye Olde Rose and Crown, London

Best Actress in a Musical - sponsored by The Other Palace

  • Chloe Carrington for Hair at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
  • Emily Hughes for Fiddler on the Roof at Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
  • Siena Kelly for On the Town at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London
  • Miriam-Teak Lee for On the Town at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London

Best Actor in a Play

  • Jack Archer for Nivelli's War at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast
  • TJ Jones for The Seven Acts of Mercy at the Swan Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Kenneth Omole for Assata Taught Me at the Gate Theatre, London
  • Abraham Popoola for Othello at Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Best Actress in a Play - sponsored by Pauline Quirke Academy at PQA Studios London

  • Anya Chalotra for Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe, London
  • Kellan Frankland for The House of Bernarda Alba at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Grace Molony for The Country Girls at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester
  • Jess Peet for Alice in Wonderland at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Best Director - sponsored by See Tickets

  • Sean Aydon for Richard III at the Rosemary Branch, London
  • Alexander Lass for 46 Beacon at Trafalgar Studios 2, London
  • Lekan Lawal for Betrayal at Derby Theatre, Derby
  • Lynette Linton for Assata Taught Me at the Gate Theatre, London

Best Designer - sponsored by Robe

  • Rosie Elnile for The Convert at the Gate Theatre, London
  • Joshua Gadsby for Dreamplay at the Vaults, London
  • Simon Spencer for The Tempest at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Jessica Staton for Extra Yarn at the Orange Tree Theatre, London

Best Composer - sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group

  • Jonah Brody for Removal Men at the Yard, London
  • Ruth Chan for Snow in Midsummer at the Swan Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Dan Gillespie Sells for Everybody's Talking About Jamie at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
  • Stephen Jackson for Roller Diner at the Soho Theatre, London

Best Writer

  • Titas Halder for Run the Beast Down at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury and Finborough Theatre, London
  • Asif Khan for Combustion at Tara Arts, London
  • Katherine Soper for Wish List at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Victoria Willing for Spring Offensive at the Clapham Omnibus, London

The Joe Allen Best West End Debut

  • John Boyega for Woyzeck at the Old Vic
  • Anthony Boyle for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre
  • Andy Karl for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic
  • Audra McDonald for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill at Wyndhams Theatre
  • Andrew Polec for Bat Out of Hell at the London Coliseum
  • Imogen Poots for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Harold Pinter Theatre
  • Amber Riley for Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre
  • Charlie Stemp for Half a Sixpence at the Noel Coward Theatre
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