Celebrate The Stage Debut Award Winners 2020

Sunday 27th September saw the first Stage Debut Awards ceremony to go online, with a great array of new talent spotlit in the nominees and award winners. I was particularly happy to see wins for Rachel Nwokoro for her magnetic performance in Arinze Kene’s LITTLE BABY JESUS at the ever-worthwhile Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond (read my review here), although Jessica Rhodes in Lucy Prebble’s THE SUGAR SYNDROME (read my review here) must have run her a very close second. Also a great win was writer Temi Wilkey for her ambitious, brave and compassionate debut play THE HIGH TABLE (read my review here) which had its run cut short by the coronavirus epidemic closures. It must surely now return in a longer run and tour.

The awards were capped by a terrific new song by the brilliant ensemble that is SpitLip, winners of a Stage Debut Awards last year for their brilliant show OPERATION MINCEMEAT (read my review here) which is due to return to Southwark Playhouse in the coming months.

Full shortlists are below with winners in bold at the start of each grouping. Congratulations to all winners and nominees for making a great impact!

Best Performer in a Play – sponsored by Audible

Rachel Nwokoro for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London

Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse, London

Saida Ahmed for Little Miss Burden at The Bunker, London
Katie Erich for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse  (co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
Brooklyn Melvin for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse ( co-production with Ramps on the Moon) 
Jessica Rhodes for The Sugar Syndrome at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London
Khai Shaw for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London
Bobby Stallwood for Faith, Hope and Charity at the National Theatre, London  

Best Performer in a Musical

Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre, London


Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London

Lucy Anderson for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London
Chase Brown for Mame at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Oli Higginson for The Last Five Years at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Adriana Ivelisse for West Side Story at Curve, Leicester
Tom Noyes for Preludes at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Bethany Tennick for Islander at the Southwark Playhouse, London

Best Director – sponsored by Smith & Williamson

Martha Kiss Perrone for When It Breaks It Burns at the Battersea Arts Centre, London

Georgia Green for The Mikvah Project at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London
Alex Sutton for Preludes at the Southwark Playhouse, London 

Best Designer – sponsored by Robe Lighting

Rose Revitt (set and costume) for Dr Korczak’s Example at Leeds Playhouse

Liam Bunster (set and costume) for The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe, London
Andrew Exeter (lighting) for High Fidelity at the Turbine Theatre, London
  

Best Composer or Lyricist 

Jim Barne and Kit Buchan for The Season at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and Royal & Derngate, Northampton


Jherek Bischoff for The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the National Theatre, London
Robbie Williams for The Boy in the Dress at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon 

Best Writer

Temi Wilkey for The High Table at the Bush Theatre, London (co-production with Birmingham Rep)

Samuel Bailey for Shook at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Mari Izzard for Hela at The Other Room, Cardiff
Eleanor Tindall for Before I Was a Bear at The Bunker, London

Best West End Debut Performer – sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment

Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre

Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre
David Mitchell for The Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre
Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse
Samantha Pauly for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Wendell Pierce for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre
Aimee Lou Wood for Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre

 Best Creative West End Debut – sponsored by the Noël Coward Foundation

Femi Temowo (composer) for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre and for Three Sisters at the National Theatre

Fabian Aloise (choreographer) for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Nadia Latif (director) for Fairview at the Young Vic Theatre
Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson (composer, lyricist and book) for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre
David West Read (book) for & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre


Vote for new talent in The Stage’s Debut Award shortlist

The eagerly-awaited 2020 Debut Awards shortlist from theatrical newspaper The Stage always proves interesting.

You can have your say too- one of the categories – Best West End Debut Performer – can be voted on by theatre fans. This category is highlighted in purple below.

The Best West End Debut Performer, sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment, celebrates a performer’s first appearance in London’s West End. It is the only category where the winner is decided by public vote.  

The winners will be announced on Sunday, September 27th at The Stage Debut Awards in association with Access Entertainment, starting at 7pm BST. 

The awards will be presented as a virtual ceremony available to everyone for free. You can sign up here for details on how to watch

You can read my views later in this article, but first, here’s the complete shortlist :

Best Performer in a Play – sponsored by Audible

Saida Ahmed for Little Miss Burden at The Bunker, London
Katie Erich for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse  (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
Brooklyn Melvin for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon) Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse, London
Rachel Nwokoro for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
Jessica Rhodes for The Sugar Syndrome at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
Khai Shaw for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
Bobby Stallwood for Faith, Hope and Charity at the National Theatre, London  

Best Performer in a Musical

Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre, London
Lucy Anderson for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London
Chase Brown for Mame at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Oli Higginson for The Last Five Years at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Adriana Ivelisse for West Side Story at Curve, Leicester
Tom Noyes for Preludes at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Bethany Tennick for Islander at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London

Best Director – sponsored by Smith & Williamson

Georgia Green for The Mikvah Project at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
Martha Kiss Perrone for When It Breaks It Burns at the Battersea Arts Centre, London
Alex Sutton for Preludes at the Southwark Playhouse, London 

Best Designer – sponsored by Robe Lighting

Liam Bunster (set and costume) for The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe, London
Andrew Exeter (lighting) for High Fidelity at the Turbine Theatre, London
Rose Revitt (set and costume) for Dr Korczak’s Example at Leeds Playhouse  

Best Composer or Lyricist 

Jim Barne and Kit Buchan for The Season at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Jherek Bischoff for The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the National Theatre, London
Robbie Williams for The Boy in the Dress at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon 

Best Writer

Samuel Bailey for Shook at the Southwark Playhouse, London
Mari Izzard for Hela at The Other Room, Cardiff
Eleanor Tindall for Before I Was a Bear at The Bunker, London
Temi Wilkey for The High Table at the Bush Theatre, London (in a co-production with Birmingham Rep)

Best West End Debut Performer – sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment

Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre
David Mitchell for The Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre
Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse
Samantha Pauly for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Wendell Pierce for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre
Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre
Aimee Lou Wood for Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE HERE

Best Creative West End Debut – sponsored by the Noël Coward Foundation

Fabian Aloise (choreographer) for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Nadia Latif (director) for Fairview at the Young Vic Theatre
Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson (composer, lyricist and book) for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre
Femi Temowo (composer) for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre and for Three Sisters at the National Theatre
David West Read (book) for & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre


MY VIEWS

My personal feelings are that Best Performer in a Play would be well awarded to Jessica Rhodes for fulfilling a very demanding role in a highly-complex, fascinating portrayal of a young woman approaching adulthood in THE SUGAR SYNDROME at the Orange Tree in Richmond (read my review here). Also highly recommended is Rachel Nwokoro; her performance in LITTLE BABY JESUS – also at the Orange Tree – was magnetic (see my review here)

As to Best Performer in a Musical, I enjoyed Chase Brown in MAME (see my review here), also Tom Noyes in PRELUDES (see my review here) and Bethany Tennick in ISLANDER (see my review here).

Best Director would be well awarded to Alex Sutton for the fascinating and mesmerising PRELUDES (see my review here).

Best Writer would, for me, be well awarded to Temi Wilkey for her highly ambitious look at family, identity and sexuality in the riveting THE HIGH TABLE at the Bush Theatre (see my review here)

Best Creative West End Debut would, for me, be well awarded to Nadia Latif for her audacious work on the highly-charged coup de theatre of FAIRVIEW at the Young Vic (see my review here)

And as to Best West End Debut Performer….well, why don’t YOU decide?

Congratulations to all shortlisted creatives! Roll on September 27th…..


THE STAGE Debut Awards 2019

On September 15th The Stage announced the 2019 winners of The Stage Debut Awards, in association with Access Entertainment which took place at The Brewery, London.

Amongst the many awards , the publicly-voted Award for Best West End Debut went to Jac Yarrow for his professional debut in JOSEPH at the London Palladium.

My personal favourite award was for Best Composer or Lyricist which went to the talented team behind one of the year’s funniest and slickest musicals, OPERATION MINCEMEAT, SpitLip’s Felix Hagan, David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson and Zoe Roberts, which played a hugely-popular season at the New Diorama in London.

Many congratulations to all the winners.


Read my review of OPERATION MINCEMEAT here


Read the full list of award winners at The Stage website here