Poldark actor Aidan Turner has won the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award for his performance in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre as part of The Stage Debut Awards 2018, hosted by actress Cush Jumbo.
Performers and creatives taking home the prestigious awards this year also included: 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, and Katy Rudd for her direction of The Almighty Something at Manchester Royal Exchange.
Akshay Sharan was commended for his detailed performance in The Reluctant Fundamentalist at The Yard; as was Gus Gowland for composing a warm and evocative score for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester.
Louis Gaunt left a winner for his impressive supporting role in Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera; Gemma Dobson was recognised for her vivacious performance in Rita, Sue and Bob Too which started life at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton; Andrew Thompson was named Best Writer for his ambitious script for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre 503; and Khadija Raza was honoured for, among other work, her stark staging and costumes for Hijabi Monologues at Bush Theatre.
Upon winning the Joe Allen Best West End Debut award, Aidan Turner said: “Thank you to The Stage for this award and thank you to everyone who voted.
“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.”
The Stage’s editor Alistair Smith 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.”
The Stage Debut Awards celebrate the very best breakthrough talent in theatre, from actors and directors to designers, writers, composers and lyricists, all of whom have made their professional debuts in the past year. These awards are the first of their kind to recognise outstanding emerging talent.
Pictures: Alex Brenner
THE STAGE DEBUT AWARDS’ 2018 – FULL WINNERS LIST
Best Actress In A Play – Sponsored by Audible
Gemma Dobson for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Best Actor In A Play – Sponsored by Audible
Akshay Sharan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist at Yard Theatre, London
Best Actor In A Musical – Sponsored by Encore Radio
Louis Gaunt for Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley
Best Actress In A Musical – Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe
Amara Okereke for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London
Best Director – Sponsored by Smith & Williamson
Katy Rudd for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Best Designer – Sponsored by Robe Lighting
Khadija Raza for Hijabi Monologues, Spun, and Mixtape, at the Bush Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London and the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Best Composer or Lyricist – Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group
Gus Gowland for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Best Writer – Sponsored by InterTalent Rights Group
Andrew Thompson for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503, London
The Joe Allen Best West End Debut
Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre