THE FIRST annual Black British Theatre Awards is due to take place next month, and the nominees have just been revealed.
Among the list of esteemed black theatre talent, is Been So Long star Arinze Kene, who was nominated for his play Misty.
Misty is a powerful lyrical journey through the heart and soul of inner-city London, and was written by Kene who also stars in the show.
Also nominated is Lenny Henry for his role in King Hedley II, Natasha Gordon’s Nine Night, and Barbershop Chronicle’s Inua Ellams.
Taking to social media, Fuel Theatre director Kat McGrath tweeted: “5 whoops for 5 nominations in the Black British Theatre Awards for #TheHalfGodofRainfall! 😊 @FuelTheatre @InuaEllams @isthedirector @RakieAyola @kwamiodoom @KilnTheatre @BirminghamRep Totally thrilled with this news!”
The Black British Theatre Awards is the first of its kind to highlight black theatre talent across the UK.
In a statement on their website, it reads: “Black Britons have been contributing significantly to theatre since before the first major influx of africans and caribbeans into Britain during the 1950’s.
“Their arrival generated a rich cultural influence and a whole new way of approaching theatre. Over these 70 years, there has been a notable lack of recognition but an abundance of black talent. Although it is slowly being addressed, BBTA’s [Black British Theatre Awards] plan is to amplify the positivity of talent and creativity in British theatre.
“These awards are a vehicle to do so and place visible face and recognition on all creative fields in the theatre.”
In addition to the awards ceremony, the BBTA’s will issue scholarships for young black talent in the UK, enabling them to train in their chosen field and be mentored by those involved in the awards.
See the full list of nominees below:
Light and Sound Recognition Award
Set Design Recognition Award
Book and Lyrics Recognition Award
Debbie Tucker Green
Musical Director Recognition Award
Benjamin Kwasi Burrell
Lynette Linton, Sweat
Roy Alexander Weise, Nine Night
Nancy Medina, The Half God of Rainfall
Tobi Kyeremateng, Babylon Festival, Bush Theatre
Shelley Maxwell, Equus
Alesandra Seutin, Reckoning, Sadler’s Wells
Rachael Nanyonjo, Sleeping Beauty, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Best Opera Production
Porgy and Bess, English National Opera
Best Dance Performance
Carlos Acosta, Don Quixote
Prentice Whitlow, Rite of Spring, Phoenix Dance Company
Precious Adams, Manon, English National Ballet
Best Dance Production
The Suit/Dream Within a Midsummer Nights Dream, Ballet Black
Rite of Spring, Phoenix Dance Company
Best Male Actor in a Play
Arinze Kene, Misty
Kwami Odoom, The Half God of Rainfall
Aaron Pierre, King Hedley
Best Female Actor in a Play
Gloria Williams, Bullet Hole
Rakie Ayola, The Half God of Rainfall
Best Supporting Male Actor in a Play
Lenny Henry, King Hedley
Osy Ikhile, Sweat
Sule Rimi, All My Sons
Best Supporting Female Actor in a Play
Michelle Greenidge, Nine Night
Cherrelle Skeete, King Hedley
Martine Laird, King Hedley
Best Production of a Play
The Half God of Rainfall
Best Male Actor in a Musical
Layton Williams, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Jay Perry, Motown the Musical
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Best Female Actor in a Musical
Rachel John, Hamilton
Maiya Quansha-Breed, Six the Musical
Best Supporting Male Actor in a Musical
Cavin Cornwall, Jesus Christ Superstar
Jason Pennycooke, Hamilton
Arun Blair-Mangat, Leave to Remain
Best Supporting Female Actor in a Musical
Amara Okereke, Les Miserables
Kelly Agbowu, Waitress
Madeline Appiah, Tina the Musical
Best Musical Production
Best Teacher of Performing Arts as a Subject
Angeline Bell, Urdang Academy
Dollie Henry, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Best Recent Graduate Award
Amara Okereke, ArtsEd
Maiya Quansah-Breed, Guildford School of Acting
Lifetime Recognition Award
The Black British Theatre Awards takes place Sunday 27 October 2019.