Winners of the 2018 The Stage Debut Awards were announced at a ceremony that took place at 8 Northumberland Avenue last night.
Among the winners of this year’s awards, which were also streamed live on The Stage’s Facebook Page, were Poldark’s Aidan Turner who won the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award for his performance in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre. He was nominated alongside Tina: The Tina Turner Musical star Adrienne Warren, Diversity’s Ashley Banjo and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.
Elsewhere, other performers and creatives who took home an award included 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 at The Yard; Gus Gowland for his score for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester; Louis Gaunt for his supporting role in Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera; Gemma Dobson for her 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 staging and costumes for Hijabi Monologues at Bush Theatre.
In his speech upon winning the Joe Allen Best West End Debut award, Aidan Turner said of his role in The Lieutenant Of Inishmore : “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.”
Talking about the winners 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”.
Celebrating the very best breakthrough talent in theatre, all of whom have made their professional debuts in the past year, The Stage Debut Awards first started in 2017.