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The Stage Debut Awards to celebrate breakthrough talent

Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse in 2013. Photo: Johan Persson Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse in 2013. The Stage was the first paper to review the high-profile actor's theatre debut in 2005. Photo: Johan Persson
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The Stage has launched major new theatre awards to discover and support breakthrough talent.

The Stage Debut Awards will recognise actors, writers, directors, designers and composers making their professional theatre debuts in the UK.

Nominees will be considered in nine categories, including best director, designer and composer as well as best actress and actor in a play and in a musical.

A panel of industry experts will decide the winners in each category. There will also be the opportunity for the public to vote on the award for best West End debut.

Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage, said: “It’s increasingly hard to break into a career in theatre – especially if you’re not from a privileged or well-connected background. So, with The Stage Debut Awards we wanted to recognise the best performers, directors, writers, composers and designers from across the UK at the very start of their careers. The awards will serve as a launchpad for our winners and nominees.”

The awards build on the The Stage’s history of discovering breakthrough talent, having been the first paper to review Tom Hiddleston in his theatrical debut in 2005 and recognising Phoebe Waller-Bridge with a Stage Edinburgh Award for her solo show Fleabag in 2013.

Casting director David Grindrod, who cast the West End productions of School of Rock and Sunset Boulevard and will be involved in the judging process, said: “Theatre is in need of a platform to celebrate the stars of tomorrow and help encourage a wider pool of talent.

“These 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.”

The event is part of The Stage Supports, a series of initiatives aimed at nurturing talent in theatre and the performing arts. Other strands of The Stage Supports include The Stage Scholarships, which gives away more than £500,000 worth of drama training every year.

Those making their stage debut are invited to nominate themselves. The deadline for nominations is July 30. The winners of the inaugural awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on September 17.

The Stage Debut Awards

The Stage Debut Awards