Black British Theatre Awards
1st November 2019

The Black British Theatre Awards (the BBTAs) were established to raise the profile of the role that black Britons have made, not only to this country’s artistic legacy, but reflect on the impact their contribution has had and continues to make to theatre on an international level.

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, the Black British Theatre Award’s 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.

Harlequin were proud to sponsor two awards at the Black British Theatre Awards inaugural awards ceremony. These included Best Choreographer and Best Musical Production.


Nominations criteria: All productions that fall within the timeframe 1st August 2018 to 1st August 2019. All artists and work must have been staged in a theatre who are members of society of London thetares.

Defining black British theatrical nominees for the Black British Theatre Awards: People of African diaspora and of mixed black African and Caribbean heritage. Born or raised for the large part of their life in Britain or resident for at least three years.

Defining black theatre productions for the Black British Theatre Awards: Productions must have a cast where a minimum of 50% are of African diaspora and of mixed-black African and Caribbean heritage and/or the production should be based on Black subject matter.



Sponsored by Harlequin: Best Choreographer – Shelley Maxwell; Equus: Theatre Royal Stratford East

Sponsored by Harlequin: Best Musical Production – Hamilton; Victoria Palace Theatre

Best Director for a Play or Musical – Lynette Linton; SWEAT: Gielgud Theatre

Best Producer – Tobi Kyeremateng; Babylon Festival: Bush Thetatre

Best Opera Production – Porgy and Bess; English National Opera: London Coliseum

Best Dance Performance in a Dance Production – Prentice Whitlow; Rite of Spring: Pheonix Dance Theatre: Salder’s Wells

Best Dance Production – Pheonix Dance Theatre; Rite of Spring: Sadler’s Wells

Light and Sound Recognition Award – Tony Gayle

Set Design Recognition Award – Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey

Book and Lyrics Recognition Award – Debbie Tucker Green

Best Supporting Female Actor in a Play – Michelle Greenidge; Nine Night: National Theatre

Best Female Actor in a Play – Gloria Williams: Bullet Hole: Park Theatre

Best Supporting Male Actor in a Play – Lenny Henry: King Hedley II: Theatre Royal Stratford East

Best Male Actor in a Play – Arinzé Kene; Misty: Bush Theatre

Best Production for a Play – The Half God of Rainfall: Kiln Thetare

Best Supporting Male Actor in a Musical – Cavin Cornwall; Jesus Christ Superstar: Barbican Theatre

Best Male Actor in a Musical – Layton Williams; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: Apollo Theatre

Best Supporting Female Actor in a Musical – Beverley Knight; Sylvia: Old Vic

Best Female Actor in a Musical – Sharon D Clarke; Caroline, or CHnage: Playhouse Theatre

Recent Graduate Award – Amara Okereke; Arts Educational Schools, London

Best Teacher of Performing Arts as a Subject – Angeline Bell; The Urdang Academy

Lifetime Recognition Award – Sharon D. Clarke

Congratulations to all the winners from everyone at Harlequin.