The Stage has revealed the host of its 2023 The Stage Debut Awards.
Drag artist and performer Divina De Campo will take the hosting honours, in an awards ceremony that will take place on 1 October 2023 at 8 Northumberland Avenue in London.
Divina is currently starring in The SpongeBob Musical at the Queen Elizabeth Hall until 26 August 202, and previous credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Chicago.
The awards recognise breakthrough theatre talent from the previous 12 months, celebrating their outstanding professional debuts.
The 7th annual awards are sponsored by Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), and eight awards are up for grabs including Best Performer in a Play; Best Performer in a Musical; Best West End Creative Debut; Best Director; Best Designer; Best Writer; Best Composer/Lyricist or Book Writer; and Best West End Debut Performer.
Submissions for the awards were open until 30 June 2023, for debuts made before 17 July 2023.
The awards are initially nominated by The Stage’s theatre critics and the potential nominees themselves. A judging panel met on 19 July to decide the shortlist, which will be announced on 24 August 2023.
Winners are then selected by the judging panel, apart from the winner of the Best West End Debut Performer, which is decided by public vote.
This year’s judging panel consists of: Theatre critics Dave Fargnoli (Freelance), Dominic Cavendish (Telegraph), and Sam Marlowe (The Stage); The Stage editor Alistair Smith; Deadline’s Baz Bamigboye; and journalist and writer Holly Williams.
Last year’s winners included Jodie Comer, and the ensemble of For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy.
Divina De Campo told The Stage that, “I am so proud and honoured to be hosting The Stage Debut Awards this year because they really do shine a vital light on those at the start of their careers. This awards ceremony gives an important platform to the breakthrough talent in the industry and it lets the rest of us know they’re coming for us. I can’t wait to celebrate with all the deserved nominees on the night.”