The world’s oldest theatre publication, The Stage has announced a new awards to recognise the best breakthrough actors and creatives in theatre. Called The Stage Debut Awards, the new accolades will celebrate burgeoning talent within the industry and anyone over the age of 16, making their professional theatre debut in the UK, will be eligible.
The Stage has a long history of discovering and supporting breakthrough talent, having been the first to review Tom Hiddleston in his theatrical debut in 2005 for Yorgjin Oxo – The Man at Theatre 503, London. The Stage also gave Phoebe Waller-Bridge The Stage Edinburgh Award for her fringe show Fleabag in 2013. Meanwhile, Idris Elba secured his first acting role through The Stage newspaper.
Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage, said:
“It’s increasingly hard to break into a career in theatre – especially if you’re not from a privileged or well-connected background. So, with The Stage Debut Awards we wanted to launch an awards that recognise the best performers, directors, writers, composers and designers from across the UK at the very start of their careers. The awards will serve as a launchpad for our winners and nominees and will help theatre retain the best and most diverse talent at a time when it can be a real struggle for emerging talent to make a name for themselves.”
David Grindrod, casting director for Disney’s Beauty & the Beast and West End productions of School of Rock and Sunset Boulevard, said:
“Theatre is in need of a platform to celebrate the stars of tomorrow and help encourage a wider pool of talent. These awards have the power to change everything for the recipients and accelerate their careers. I am proud to be an ambassador for an initiative that actively champions diverse talent from across the UK and am excited to see the effect it will have on our industry.”
David Grindrod will also be involved in the judging process for The Stage Debut Awards.
As well as acting talent, up-and-coming theatre directors, writers, designers and composers will be celebrated. The Stage Debut Awards will also include a Best West End Debut, the winner of which will be voted for by the public from a shortlist decided by The Stage’s judging panel.
Shortlisted nominees will be announced in August, and invited to a star-studded awards ceremony at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London on September 17, 2017, when the winners will be revealed.
Breakthrough talent can be nominated for consideration by the judging panel at thestage.co.uk/debuts. The deadline for nominations is July 30, 2017.
Categories open for nominations include: Best West End Debut, Best Writer and Best Designer as well as gongs for Best Actor in a Play, Best Actress in a Play and for leading roles in musicals.
The Stage Debut Awards ceremony will also include a presentation for the Alan Bates Award for best drama school graduate.