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Industry superstars: The Stage Supports ‘could change everything’

Dumezweni with her Olivier award for her role in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Photo: Pamela Raith
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Sonia Friedman, Michael Grandage and Noma Dumezweni have been announced as ambassadors for The Stage Supports.

They are among five new ambassadors announced for The Stage’s campaign to celebrate and nurture on and offstage talent in the performing arts.

Dumezweni, star of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, its producer Friedman and Olivier award-winning director Grandage are joined by casting director David Grindrod and performer Preeya Kalidas, currently starring in West End musical School of Rock.

Dumezweni, who won an Olivier award for her portrayal of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, said: “I’m very honoured to be an ambassador of The Stage Supports. Having not got into drama school I am fully aware of the importance of taking advantage of as many opportunities for support as you can when you’re starting out as an actor.”

The Stage Supports was launched earlier this year. Its flagship event – The Stage Debut Awards – will take place for the first time in September.

The awards will recognise professional debuts from actors, designers, writers and composers, with each of the five ambassadors presenting prizes.

Grindrod added: “The Debut 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.”

Alongside The Stage Debut Awards, The Stage Supports comprises a range of initiatives to support people at all stages of their performing arts careers.

These include The Stage Scholarships, which provide £500,000 of performing arts training, a nationwide critic search and other awards schemes celebrating technical theatre, stage management, drama school graduates and Edinburgh Festival Fringe performances, as well as The Stage Awards.

The Stage’s print editor Alistair Smith said: “We are thrilled that these five ambassadors have become champions of the work The Stage Supports is doing. The breadth of experience reflects the ambition of The Stage Supports and the impact the campaign we are undertaking can have for our industry.

“The Stage is the resource for everyone in the performing arts and, in the current climate of funding cuts and uncertainty, it is more important than ever that we pull together to ensure that careers continue to be accessible and sustainable. The support of these high profile, industry powerhouses raises awareness of the work we do and the impact we can make. We are really looking forward to working with them.”

For more about The Stage Supports, thestage.co.uk/supports

The Stage Debut Awards