The Black British Theatre Awards (BBTAs) is the UK’s first award show to celebrate the excellence and influence of Black performers and creatives within the UK theatre industry. On Sunday 29th October 2023 the annual awards ceremony will take place in the Lyttelton Theatre at the National Theatre in London.
“After a wonderful first outing at the National Theatre, it feels the perfect thing to host this ground breaking and vital event again at the NT.”
Clint Dyer, Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre.
Launched in 2019 and hosting live ceremonies over the past four years, the BBTAs are thrilled to be returning to the National Theatre for this year’s ceremony. Recently becoming a Community Interest Company (CIC), the BBTAs continue to support and inspire Black talent through award recognition and a year round Youth Development 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 artists and creatives to be recognised and represented throughout the UK theatre sector.
The BBTAs are also thrilled to announce three founding patrons who will support and champion activities across the sector. Brenda Emmanus OBE (Television Presenter and Radio Broadcaster and Journalist), Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE (Freelance Creative Consultant, former Chief Executive of The Place, Director of The Africa Centre, choreographer and dancer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre) and Dr Shirley Thompson OBE (Composer, Visionary Artist, Cultural Activist and Music Educator).
“I am honoured to become a patron of the Black British Theatre Awards and support the phenomenal work they are doing showcasing a broad range of exciting and diverse talent. The positive impact and legacy of their vision cannot be underestimated.” Brenda Emmanus OBE
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 momentum for the awards continues to grow and the landscape of the industry is progressing. 2021 BBTA Best Female in a Musical winner Lucy St Louis made history as the first Black female to be cast as Christine Daaé in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, the role she won her award for. Tuesday 7th March marked St Louis’ opening night in the London production of Wicked the Musical as Glinda where she has made history again starring alongside Alexia Khadime in the role of Elphaba, the first time the London production’s two leading roles are both played by actors of colour.
Some of the biggest names in the theatre industry have hosted and presented at the awards including Cynthia Erivo (Grammy, Tony and Emmy Award-Winner, Actor; Wicked, Luther: The Fallen Sun, Pinocchio, Harriet ), Danny Sapani (Actor; Black Panther, Star Wars, Killing Eve), Clint Dyer (Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Director; Othello, Ali, Death of England: Parts 1, 2, and 3; Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical ), Giles Terera MBE (Writer and Actor; Blues for an Alabama Sky, Hamilton, Othello), Stephen K. Amos (Comedian, Writer and Actor; My Fair Lady, My Night with Reg), Layton Williams (Actor; Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, Bad Education, Benidorm), Cedric Neal (Actor; Guys and Dolls, Back to the Future, Motown The Musical, Chess, Finalist The Voice UK).
“It’s such a pleasure to witness such a positive impact to theatre, watching it grow and develop. We can’t wait to celebrate at this iconic venue again this autumn.”
Solange Urdang and Omar Okai, BBTA Co-founders and Directors
Nomination and voting information to be announced soon.