Winners for The Stage Debut Awards 2018

The Joe Allen Best West End Debut
Mohammad Amiri for The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre
Ashley Banjo for Dick Whittington at the London Palladium
Bryan Cranston for Network at the National Theatre
Michelle Greenidge for Nine Night at the National Theatre
John McCrea for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre
Kelli O’Hara for The King and I at the London Palladium
Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy for The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre
Lucie Shorthouse for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre
WINNER – Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre
Adrienne Warren for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

Best Actress In A Play Sponsored by Audible
Kitty Archer for One for Sorrow at the Royal Court, London
WINNER – Gemma Dobson for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Lorna Fitzgerald for The Shadow Factory at NST City, Southampton
Grainne O’Mahony for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic

Best Actor In A Play  Sponsored by Audible
Seb Carrington for Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre, London
WINNER – Akshay Sharan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist at the Yard Theatre, London
Chris Walley for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre, London
Alex Wilson for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Best Actor In A Musical  Sponsored by Encore Radio
Will Carey for It’s Only Life at the Union Theatre, London
WINNER – Louis Gaunt for Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley
Toby Miles for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London
Simon Oskarsson for Return to the Forbidden Planet at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

Best Actress In A Musical Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe
Teleri Hughes for Spring Awakening at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Eleanor Kane for Fun Home at the Young Vic, London
Rebecca Mendoza for Hairspray, on tour
WINNER – Amara Okereke for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London

Best Director  Sponsored by Smith & Williamson
Iwan Lewis for One Minute at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester
Alexandra Moxon for Wreck at Nottingham Playhouse
Oscar Pearce for Great Apes at the Arcola Theatre, London
WINNER – Katy Rudd for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Best Designer Sponsored by Robe Lighting
Basia Binkowska for Devil with the Blue Dress at the Bunker Theatre, London
WINNER – Khadija Raza for Hijabi Monologues, Spun, and Mixtape, at the Bush Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London and the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Fin Redshaw for Pieces of String and Love Me Now at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester and the Tristan Bates Theatre, London
Jasmine Swan for HyemThe Passing of the Third Floor BackHanna and The Sleeper at Theatre503, London, the Finborough Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London, and Rialto Theatre, Brighton

Best Composer or Lyricist Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group
WINNER: Gus Gowland for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Kate Marlais for Abandon at the Lyric Hammersmith, London
Matt Winkworth for The Assassination of Katie Hopkins at Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Best Writer  Sponsored by InterTalent Rights Group
Georgia Christou for Yous Two at Hampstead Theatre, London
Kendall Feaver for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Natasha Gordon for Nine Night at the National Theatre, London
WINNER – Andrew Thompson for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503, London
Joe White for Mayfly at the Orange Tree Theatre, London

Nominees for The Stage Debut Awards 2018

The Joe Allen Best West End Debut
Mohammad Amiri for The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre
Ashley Banjo for Dick Whittington at the London Palladium
Bryan Cranston for Network at the National Theatre
Michelle Greenidge for Nine Night at the National Theatre
John McCrea for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre
Kelli O’Hara for The King and I at the London Palladium
Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy for The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre
Lucie Shorthouse for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre
Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre
Adrienne Warren for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

Best Actress In A Play Sponsored by Audible
Kitty Archer for One for Sorrow at the Royal Court, London
Gemma Dobson for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Lorna Fitzgerald for The Shadow Factory at NST City, Southampton
Grainne O’Mahony for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic

Best Actor In A Play  Sponsored by Audible
Seb Carrington for Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre, London
Akshay Sharan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist at the Yard Theatre, London
Chris Walley for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre, London
Alex Wilson for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Best Actor In A Musical  Sponsored by Encore Radio
Will Carey for It’s Only Life at the Union Theatre, London
Louis Gaunt for Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley
Toby Miles for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London
Simon Oskarsson for Return to the Forbidden Planet at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

Best Actress In A Musical Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe
Teleri Hughes for Spring Awakening at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Eleanor Kane for Fun Home at the Young Vic, London
Rebecca Mendoza for Hairspray, on tour
Amara Okereke for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London

Best Director  Sponsored by Smith & Williamson
Iwan Lewis for One Minute at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester
Alexandra Moxon for Wreck at Nottingham Playhouse
Oscar Pearce for Great Apes at the Arcola Theatre, London
Katy Rudd for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Best Designer Sponsored by Robe Lighting
Basia Binkowska for Devil with the Blue Dress at the Bunker Theatre, London
Khadija Raza for Hijabi Monologues, Spun, and Mixtape, at the Bush Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London and the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Fin Redshaw for Pieces of String and Love Me Now at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester and the Tristan Bates Theatre, London
Jasmine Swan for HyemThe Passing of the Third Floor BackHanna and The Sleeper at Theatre503, London, the Finborough Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London, and Rialto Theatre, Brighton

Best Composer or Lyricist Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group
Gus Gowland for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Kate Marlais for Abandon at the Lyric Hammersmith, London
Matt Winkworth for The Assassination of Katie Hopkins at Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Best Writer  Sponsored by InterTalent Rights Group
Georgia Christou for Yous Two at Hampstead Theatre, London
Kendall Feaver for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Natasha Gordon for Nine Night at the National Theatre, London
Andrew Thompson for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503, London
Joe White for Mayfly at the Orange Tree Theatre, London

CD Review: The West End goes MAD for Christmas

“I don’t need to ask for much this Christmas”

One of the more worthwhile festive releases this year is also pleasingly one of the more interesting. The Make A Difference Trust brings together the British entertainment community and its audiences to raise funds to support people living with HIV and AIDS and with The West End Goes MAD For Christmas, has brought together a host of new musical theatre champions to offer up a compilation of Christmas songs that offer a fascinating alternative to the age old carols and standards that proliferate at this time of year.

And producers Nikki & Joe Davison at Auburn Jam Records have done a brilliant job in matching composers to performers across the eight songs, curating pre-existing tracks and new, and shining a light on some serious talent. The plaintive simplicity of Stuart Matthew Price’s self-penned ‘This Christmas’ is characteristic of much of his oeuvre of classic songwriting, Gina Beck’s crystalline soprano dances beautifully around the timeless melody of Alexander S Bermange’s ‘Praying For You’ and Nadim Naaman‘s ‘A Soldier’s Christmas’ treads an equally emotive path, sung charmingly by Gerónimo Rauch and Naaman himself.

There’s a more upbeat side to some of the festive offerings too. Anderson and Petty’s ‘Reindeer Wives’ wry humour is well performed by Harriet Thorpe, Christopher Howell and Sophie Isaacs and there’s lovely uplifting sentiment behind Chloe Hart’s ‘I Love Christmas’ (taken from The Bakewell Bake Off). The album’s strong points lie in its bookends though – the soaring joy of Felix Hagan’s ‘Together We Can Make It’ is a perfect match for the openness of Killian Donnelly’s vocal, ably supported by a choir made from the cast of Les Misérables.

And there’s a double whammy of restrained gorgeousness at the record’s end. Alistair Brammer and Gus Gowland’s ‘Home’ builds evocative swells of rousing vocals and brass-inflected music into the unalloyed joy of a place to call home. And Janie Dee weaves delicately but assuredly around the deeply moving story of Tim Connor’s ‘The Little Match Girl’, hauntingly beautiful and a timely reminder that not everyone has a place to call home. The CD is well worth a purchase – either digitally on iTunes or physically via the MADTrust shop (the CD booklet contains lyrics and rehearsal photography).