The Stage Debut Awards 2017

The Stage Debut Awards are the only awards to recognise breakthrough theatre talent. They will celebrate emerging actors and creatives, from all backgrounds.

"These awards have the power to change everything for the recipients and accelerate their careers." David Grindrod, casting director


1. The Stage critics 

The Stage's nationwide network of reviewers will identify actors and creatives making their debuts and put forward recommendations. 

2. National assessors 

Representatives from across the UK will be sent the critics' longlist and asked for their input.

3. Judging panel

An expert panel will create the shortlist and decide the winners. 

4. The public vote

The West End debut shortlist will be decided by the judging panel. The shortlist will then be put to a public vote.



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

Best Writer

Best West End Debut

Definition of debut: first professional appearance in a named role (previous appearances in ensemble roles or as an understudy do not disqualify you from consideration).

To be eligible for The Stage Debut Awards you must meet the following conditions:

  • Nominees must be 16 years old and over.
  • Nominees debuts must have been reviewed by The Stage.
  • Child actors who have come back to performing later in life are eligible.
  • Nominees must have made their debuts in the UK.
  • Debuts in shows during Edinburgh Festival Fringe will not be considered for these awards, but are eligible for The Stage Edinburgh Awards. Prior appearances at Edinburgh Fringe do not disqualify you from eligibility for The Stage Debut Awards.
  • Actors and creatives who have previously worked in other media, e.g. TV and film, are eligible.
  • Nominees can be of any nationality.
  • The Best West End Debut category covers all West End debuts including performers, composers, writers, directors and designers. West End is defined as SOLT theatres
  • For the first year, anyone who has made a debut and is performing on stage between September 1, 2016 to July 30, 2017  can be nominated e.g. actor who made debut in May 2016 but still performing in same role in 2017 can be nominated. From the second year, the first debut performance must take place within the calendar year
  • For any queries on eligibility please contact The Stage reviews editor, natasha[@]
  • The Stage's decision is final.

September 2016 to June 2017

The Stage critics submit recommendations for nominees.

June 2017

National assessors give input.

September 17, 2017 

The Stage Debut Awards Ceremony.

July 2017

Judging panel meets.

August 2017

Shortlist announced and Best West End Debut category opened to public vote.


The Stage Debut Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday September 17, 2017 at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London.

Award categoriesJudging processTimelineEligibilityMake a nominationMake a nomination

The Stage Debut Awards is part of The Stage Supports, a series of groundbreaking interventions launched by The Stage with a range of industry partners, all with one aim: to nurture on and offstage talent in theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage Supports Ambassadors 

David Grindrod, casting director for Disney's Beauty and the Beast and West End productions of School of Rock and Sunset Boulevard, is the first The Stage Supports Ambassador and will be involved in the judging process for The Stage Debut Awards.

Alan Bates Award

This prestigious award is run by The Actors Centre, in association with The Stage Supports, and recognises the best drama school graduate every year. This year it will be presented at The Stage Debut Awards 2017.

Find out more
The awards are part of The Stage Supports – dedicated to nurturing, celebrating and sustaining talent in the performing arts. 
Nominate now

If you have any other questions about The Stage Debut Awards or The Stage Supports please email  marketing[@]


We have a range of attractive sponsorship packages available for The Stage Debut Awards, if you would like to get involved please email commercial director Simon Hassell on simon[@]


For any press enquiries relating to The Stage Debut Awards email marketing manager Rachel Scott on rachel[@]



Find out more