The Stage Debut Awards 2023 nominations revealed

The Stage Debut Awards 2023 nominations have been revealed today!

The only awards dedicated to recognising breakthrough theatre talent, this year’s ceremony will take place on 1 October, hosted at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London in association with headline sponsor Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG).

Legendary Drag Artist Divina De Campo, who is currently starring in The SpongeBob Musical, will host the ceremony with a line up of guest presenters and performers to be announced.

The Stage Debut Awards 2023 nominations

Best Performer in a Play (Sponsored by Cabbells)

  • Bukky Bakray for Sleepova at Bush Theatre, London
  • Rita Bernard-Shaw for Trouble in Butetown at Donmar Warehouse, London
  • Natalie Blair for Spring and Port Wine at Octagon Theatre, Bolton
  • Rhian Blundell for Let the Right One In at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
  • Elan Davies for Imrie at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
  • Rilwan Abiola Owokoniran for The Importance of Being Earnest at Leeds Playhouse  and touring
  • Daniel Rock for Richard the Second at Omnibus Theatre, London and touring
  • Isobel Thom for I, Joan at Shakespeare’s Globe, London

Best Performer in a Musical (Sponsored by Carnival Cruise Line)

  • Liv Andrusier for Ride at Charing Cross Theatre, London
  • Josh Barnett for Newsies at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, London
  • Arcangelo Ciulla for Newsies at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, London
  • Carla Dixon-Hernandez for Mrs Doubtfire at Shaftesbury Theatre, London
  • Drew Hylton for Unexpected Twist: An Oliver Twisted Tale at Royal and Derngate,  Northampton and touring
  • Jessica Lee for Miss Saigon at Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
  • Maisie Smith for Strictly Ballroom the Musical, Churchill Theatre, Bromley and touring

Best Director: (Sponsored by Arts Council England) 

  • Daniel Blake for Bones at Park Theatre, London
  • Indiana Lown-Collins for The Solid Life of Sugar Water at Orange Tree Theatre,  London
  • Denzel Westley-Sanderson for The Importance of Being Earnest at Leeds Playhouse  and touring
  • Emily Ling Williams for A Playlist for the Revolution at Bush Theatre, London

Best Designer (Sponsored by Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL)

  • Carly Brownbridge (set & costume) for Agatha at Theatre503, London
  • Peter Butler (set & costume) for The Shape of Things at Park Theatre, London
  • Andrea Scott (video) for My Neighbour Totoro at Barbican Theatre, London

Best Writer (Sponsored by Sonia Friedman Productions)

  • Sasha Hails for Possession at Arcola Theatre, London
  • Lenny Henry for August in England at Bush Theatre, London
  • Anoushka Lucas for Elephant at Bush Theatre, London
  • Jennifer Lunn for Es & Flo at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
  • Richard Mylan for Sorter at Swansea Grand Theatre
  • Zak Zarafshan for The Boys Are Kissing at Theatre503, London

Best Composer, Lyricist or Book Writer (Sponsored by Crossroads Live)

  • Gerel Falconer for Alice in Wonderland at Brixton House, London
  • Michael R Jackson for A Strange Loop at Barbican Theatre, London
  • Jenny Moore for Robin Hood: The Legend. Re-written at Regent’s Park Open Air  Theatre, London
  • Lilly Pollard for Sugar Coat at Southwark Playhouse, London

Best West End Debut Performer

  • Rose Ayling-Ellis for As You Like It at @sohoplace
  • Emily Fairn for Brokeback Mountain at @sohoplace
  • Mike Faist for Brokeback Mountain at @sohoplace
  • Kyle Ramar Freeman for A Strange Loop at Barbican Theatre
  • Gabriel Howell for The Unfriend at Criterion Theatre
  • Paul Mescal for A Streetcar Named Desire at Phoenix Theatre
  • Zachary Quinto for Best of Enemies at Noël Coward Theatre
  • Samira Wiley for Blues for an Alabama Sky at National Theatre

Best Creative West End Debut: (Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment) 

  • Joe Bunker (Musical Director) for Operation Mincemeat at Fortune Theatre
  • SpitLip (David Cumming, Felix Hagan, Natasha Hodgson and Zoë Roberts) for  Operation Mincemeat at Fortune Theatre
  • Tingying Dong for The Crucible at National Theatre and Gielgud Theatre
  • Michael R Jackson for A Strange Loop at Barbican Theatre
  • Scott Le Crass for Rose at Ambassadors Theatre
  • Rob Madge for My Son’s a Queer, (But What Can You Do?) at Garrick Theatre and  Ambassadors Theatre

The winner of The Best West End Debut Performer will be chosen by fans. You can vote online at This award celebrates a performer’s first time in London’s West End and voting closes at midday on September 17.

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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