Lenny Henry, Arinze Kene, Inua Ellams and Natasha Gordon among nominees for the Black British Theatre Awards

The inaugural awards will take place on October 27 and will highlight black theatre talent across the UK.

NOMINEES: Arinze Kene and Lenny Henry

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:

Recognition Group

Light and Sound Recognition Award

Tony Gayle

Set Design Recognition Award

Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey

Book and Lyrics Recognition Award

Arinze Kene

Inua Ellams

Debbie Tucker Green

Musical Director Recognition Award

Michael Henry

Sean Green

Benjamin Kwasi Burrell

Creatives Group

Best Director

Lynette Linton, Sweat

Roy Alexander Weise, Nine Night

Nancy Medina, The Half God of Rainfall

Best Producer

Tobi Kyeremateng, Babylon Festival, Bush Theatre

Best Choreographer

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

Sylvia, ZooNation


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

Sharon D Clarke, Death of a Salesman

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

The Small Island

Nine Night


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

Sharon D Clarke, Caroline or Change

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

Beverley Knight, Sylvia

Amara Okereke, Les Miserables

Kelly Agbowu, Waitress

Madeline Appiah, Tina the Musical

Best Musical Production

Tina the Musical



Achievement Awards

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

Sharon D Clarke

The Black British Theatre Awards takes place Sunday 27 October 2019.

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