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Stagey shout-outs – The Stage Debut Awards nominees, presenters and winners on who has inspired them

We asked those at last year's awards to let us know who inspired them the most

Adelle Leonce (Emilia 2), Clare Perkins (Emilia 3) and Saffron Coomber (Emilia 1) during the curtain call for the West End production of Emilia
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Theatre relies on people inspiring one another – creatives bouncing ideas to and fro and forging expert work. At last year's The Stage Debut Awards, we asked presenters, nominees and winners who inspires them – who impresses and who wows with their work. We've listed some of the responses below:




Writer Jasmine Lee Jones: All the people I was nominated within my category at The Stage Debut Awards – Nicôle Lecky, Holly Robinson and Ross Willis. I want to shout out Jane Fallowfield – she brought up a lot of talent and nominated a lot of people that wouldn't nominate themselves.

Writer Inua Ellams: "Arinzé [Kene] is a friend of mine – seeing him create Misty, which is a combination of everything he'd been through was incredible. Seeing someone undermine the idea of a black man while superseding it."

Designer Evie Gurney: "I was really excited to see Taya Tower pick up her award for The Hunt – she's got an innate sense of performance – it's extraordinary to see that at a young age."

Performer Jonathan Bailey: "Lynette Lynton is really special. There's something generous and unassuming about her nature, and unsurprising to see her do so well. She creates such open work spaces and I think that's so important."

Director Lynette Linton: "I want to give a big shout-out to all the writers who are coming through the Bush Theatre and submitting their scripts for the first time. That's such an important thing to do. I want to shout-out to all the young people that come into a theatre building even when they feel like it might not be for them, because that's a big deal. Just know that it's for you, that we're supporting you and watching you."

Lynette Linton
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Designer Frankie Bradshaw: "I want to give a shout-out to all the female creatives, particularly lighting and sound designers and production managers – they are the bravest of women and our industry needs them."

Writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm: "It has to be Saffron Coomber, who was nominated for Best West End Debut. She made the role of Emilia her own in the West End and did such a gorgeous job of it."

Performer Saffron Coomber: "Morgan Lloyd Malcolm – we need her, we need her point of view. She's fearless and all about the truth. She operates from a place that few of us get to experience."

Saffron Coomber
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Performer Mark Gatiss: "Tyrone Huntley we saw in The View Upstairs and he is an astonishing talent. When I saw him in Jesus Christ Superstar last year what little hair I had left stood on end. Just incredible. It's so exciting at The Stage Debut Awards seeing everyone beaming and celebrating talent – the guys at Operation Mincement were over the moon when they won – such a wonderful feeling."

Director Rufus Norris: "If you look at people like Ian McKellen or Marianne Elliott they weren't overnight stars. Marianne did a hundred shows before she did War Horse. It's all about going step by step by step."

Director Atri Banerjee: "Directors like Bryony Shanahan are putting the legwork in and now running institutions – those are the sort of people that inspire me."

Performer Caroline Sheen: "There's one guy I'm watching – he was in Hamilton so he's doing pretty well, called Tarinn Callender. I worked with him in his professional debut in Kiss Me, Kate, he'll go far."

Spitlip (creators of Operation Mincemeat): "We saw Tokyo Rose at Edinburgh and it was amazing. The guys behind Six have revolutionised the whole industry model, saying musicals can be cool now. It's a powerful thing! Comedians like Lady Susan, Moon – people reminding us that we don't need to stay in our lane, that musicals can be sketches, or farce."

Mark Gatiss
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Performer Christie Prades: "I met Jac Yarrow for the first time – he was such a genuine rising star that we'll need to look out for. He's going to accelerate so far in his career."

Performer Rachel Tucker: "Nathanael Campbell from Come From Away. He makes me have to control my laughter when we're on stage together. You're going to see so much more from him over the next few years."

Performer Danielle Fiamanya: "T'Shan Williams who I played along with in The Color Purple was always my inspiration. I remember auditioning for GSA because I knew she'd trained there. Seeing someone who looked like me start there really inspired me."

Performer Jarneia Richard-Noel: "All of my girls at Six are doing incredible things – I'm only just trying to get to know the industry but they are the most incredible bunch."

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