Winners of the 2021 Black British Theatre Awards have been announced in London.
The UK’s first award show to celebrate the excellence and influence of Black performers and creatives in the theatre industry, the awards were held on 21 November 2021 atThe Old Finsbury Town Hall in London.
The awards were hosted by Grammy, Tony and Emmy award winner and two-time Oscar nomineeCynthia Erivo, andBlack Panther, Star Wars and Killing Eve actor Danny Sapan.
Winners on the night included Yomi Sode’s play and breathe… which scooped four awards includingbest production of a play,best musical director for Femi Temowo, best director for Miranda Cromwell and best male actor in a play for David Jonsson.
Other winners included Ivano Turco (pictured, photo: Laura Lewis) andCaleb Roberts for their roles in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, and Lucy St Louis for her starring role as Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Much loved and respected actor, entertainer and activist Derek Griffiths MBE also received a lifetime achievement award.
Black British Theatre Awards 2021 – winners
Best male actor in a play
David Jonsson, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Best female actor in a play
Isabel Adomakoh Young, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Best supporting male actor in a play
Andrew French, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Best supporting female actor in a play
Aretha Ayeh, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Best production of a play
and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Best male actor in a musical
Ivano Turco, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Best female actor in a musical
Lucy St Louis, The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty’s Theatre
Best supporting male actor in a musical
Caleb Roberts, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Best supporting female actor in a musical
Natasha May-Thomas, Carousel, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Best musical production
West End Musical Celebration, Palace Theatre
Best director for a play or musical
Miranda Cromwell, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Best musical director
Femi Temowo, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Chris Steward and Shanay Holmes, West End Musical Celebration at Palace Theatre
Ingrid Mackinnon, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Best dance performance in a dance production
Joseph Sissens, The Statement, Royal Ballet
Best dance production
‘And Still We Dance!’, Afro Dance Xplosion
Best use of innovation and technology
Ryan Carter, The Secret Society of Leading Ladies, Barn Theatre
Recognition awards for a body of work
Light and sound
Book and lyrics
Best teacher of performing arts as a subject
Ashley Campbell, British Theatre Academy
Best recent graduate
Natasha May-Thomas, Urdang Academy
Derek Griffiths MBE
More about the British Black Theatre Awards
The BBTAs highlight excellence and leadership within the UK theatre sector through the acknowledgement and celebration of established and emerging diverse talent. An important part of the awards is to champion the legacy of Black theatre pioneers and their visionary contributions. The BBTAs support and inspire young Black talent through award recognition and a year round outreach programme, creating an impact by facilitating pathways from the educational system into the arts and empowering diverse talent to create and tell their stories. The purpose of the movement is for Black talent to be recognised and represented throughout the UK theatre sector.
Over the past year, with many shows being streamed and/or performed live, there has been a plethora of innovative and ground-breaking theatre. The BBTAs will highlight the exceptional Black artists and creatives on and off stage during this time of national cultural recovery. The presence of Black talent in all aspects of theatre is more important than ever to ensure that the return to theatre is dynamic and diverse than ever. This year’s nominees demonstrate the abundance of talent and showcase excellence across UK theatre, as well as the broader arts and cultural landscape.