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The Stage Debut Awards 2018 - winners announced

Aidan Turner (Padraic) in The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Photo by Johan Persson.

Theatre news

THE Stage Debut Awards, in association with Access Entertainment, have announced the 2018 winners, following the ceremony which took place at 8 Northumberland Avenue on Sunday, September 23, which was also streamed live on The Stage’s Facebook Page.

Poldark actor Aidan Turner won the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award for his performance in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre beating Tina: The Tina Turner Musical star Adrienne Warren, Diversity’s Ashley Banjo and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

Upon winning, Turner said: “Thank you to The Stage for this award and thank you to everyone who voted”. He offered “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”.

Other winners include 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; Gus Gowland for composing a warm and evocative score for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester; Louis Gaunt for his impressive supporting role in Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera; Gemma Dobson for her vivacious 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 stark staging and costumes for Hijabi Monologues at Bush Theatre.

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”.

For more about The Stage Debut Awards plus a full list of nominees and winners, click here.