The Stage Debut Awards took place yesterday in London, with some fantastic new faces sweeping up the accolades. The awards recognise the talent of breakthrough actors, writers, directors, designers, composers or lyricists to highlight their efforts and promote their continued careers in the industry.
The awards ceremony was hosted by Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife) who will be returning to the British stage next year, playing the titular role in Hamlet at the Young Vic. She was joined by a host of recognisable faces, including Mark Gatiss, Giles Terera, Inua Ellams, Jenna Russell, Caroline Sheen, Rufus Norris, Jonathan Bailey, Rosalie Craig, Michael Xavier and Janie Dee.
The public vote gave Jac Yarrow the prestigious Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award for his performance in the title role of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium. His first role out of drama school, Jac’s full professional debut beat Hollywood star Matthew Broderick; On Your Feet!’s Christie Prades; and The Inheritance’s Andrew Burnap and Samuel H Levine to achieve the coveted accolade.
From all across the UK, actors and creatives were recognised for all scales and kinds of productions. Other winners of The Stage Debut Awards this year are as follows:
Best Actress in a Play – Lauren O’Leary for her performance in the one-woman show The Awkward Years at The Other Room, Cardiff.
Best Actor in a Play – Jamal Ajala for his performance delivered using British Sign Language in Ear For Eye at the Royal Court, London.
Best Actress in a Musical – Danielle Fiamanya for an unforgettable performance in a supporting role in The Color Purple at Curve, Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome.
Best Actor in a Musical – Adam Hugill for a stand-out performance in Standing at the Sky’s Edge at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
Best Director – Atri Banerjee for a charming revival of Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.
Best Writer – Jasmine Lee-Jones for her script for Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner at the Royal Court, which was composed partly from emojis, GIFs, memes and online acronyms.
Best Creative West End Debut – Designer Frankie Bradshaw and director Lynette Linton for their combined effort in perfectly recreating small-town Pennsylvania on a West End stage for Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse and the Gielgud Theatre.
Child Performer of the Year – Taya Tower for The Hunt at the Almeida. The judges described the role as “difficult, especially for such a young performer”.
Best Composer or Lyricist – David Cumming, Felix Hagan, Natasha Hodgson and Zoe Roberts of SpitLip for composing the cahotic parody Operation Mincemeat at the New Diorama in London.