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The Stage Debut Awards announces inaugural judging panel

Lyn Gardner. Photo: The Stage Lyn Gardner. Photo: The Stage/Catherine Gerbrands
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The Stage Debut Awards has announced its judging panel, which will include associate editors Mark Shenton and Lyn Gardner.

The Times’ critic Sam Marlowe, The Stage’s editor Alistair Smith, and The Stage’s reviews editor Natasha Tripney have also been announced as judges for the competition.

The Stage’s nationwide team of critics have been putting forward their suggestions since last year and, after public nominations close on July 28, a selection of industry experts, including producer Sonia Friedman and director Michael Grandage, will be given the opportunity to input into the long list.

Those advising on the long list also include the National Theatre’s head of casting Wendy Spon, the Bush Theatre’s artistic director Madani Younis, and producer Danielle Tarento.

Artistic director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres Sam Hodges, artistic director of Rifco Pravesh Kumar, designer Paule Constable and actor Noma Dumezweni will also be asked for recommendations for the long list.

The judging panel will then consider the long list to create a shortlist and chose winners for all categories, except the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award. In this category,  the judges’ shortlist will be put to the public vote. The winners of all categories will be announced at a ceremony on September 17.

Celebrating breakthrough talent, the awards will be presented to the best debut in a number of categories, including best actor in a play, best actress in a play, best actor in a musical, best actress in a musical, best director, best designer, best composer and best writer.

The Stage Debut Awards is the flagship event of The Stage Supports, a collection of initiatives by The Stage and its industry partners to help nurture, celebrate and sustain talent in the performing arts. More information about The Stage Debut Awards can be found here.

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