Bat Out Of Hell star Andrew Polec wins theatre award

He turned to acting after a cycling accident ended his plans for a career in sports.

Newcomer Andrew Polec has beaten a string of established stars to a theatre award for his performance in the Meat Loaf musical.

The Bat Out Of Hell star won The Joe Allen Best West End Debut award, the only category decided by public vote, at the inaugural The Stage Debut Awards.

He beat Star Wars’s John Boyega and Glee’s Amber Riley to take home the prize.

Polec, who trained as an actor after a cycling accident ended his plans for a sports career, portrayed Strat in the Jim Steinman musical.

Bat Out Of Hell casting director David Grindrod said: “Andrew stood out from the beginning.

“It was clear that he was the only actor capable of portraying Strat with the energy required to do justice to Jim Steinman’s music.

“It’s been fantastic watching him grow into the part and for this to be rewarded at The Stage Debut Awards.”

The awards were given out at a ceremony in London which was hosted by actor and singer Ben Forster.

Other winners included The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie Sells, who scooped best composer for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Katherine Soper won best writer for Wish List and Abraham Popoola was named best actor in a play for Othello at Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol.

Alistair Smith, The Stage editor and a member of the judging panel, said: “The Stage Debut Awards celebrate new theatre talent, shining the spotlight on the stars of tomorrow.

“Our list of nominees showcases a wealth of talent from across the UK, with winners recognised for work produced in Bristol, Chichester, London, Derby, Sheffield and Manchester. Congratulations to them all.”

He said he was looking forward to seeing the winners and nominees “feature on Olivier, Bafta and Oscar shortlists in future years”.

Winners in full:

:: Best actor in a play
Abraham Popoola for Othello at Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol

:: Best actress in a play
Grace Molony for The Country Girls at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester

:: Best actor in a musical
Samuel Thomas for Allegro at Southwark Playhouse, London

:: Best actress in a musical
Miriam-Teak Lee for On the Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London

:: Best director
Lekan Lawal for Betrayal at Derby Theatre, Derby

:: Best designer
Rosie Elnile for The Convert at the Gate Theatre, London

:: Best composer
Dan Gillespie Sells for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

:: Best writer
Katherine Soper for Wish List at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

:: The Joe Allen Best West End Debut
Andrew Polec for Bat Out of Hell at the London Coliseum

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