The ones to watch in 2013

The next generation is standing in the wings, ready to take the arts and entertainment world by storm. Here, our critics pick the brightest talent in everything from comedy and film to theatre and books, and say why they think they're the real deal

Saturday 29 December 2012 01:00 GMT

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas




Vivacious character comedian Holly Burn's mixture of the madcap, the surreal and the downright deranged has become more and more beguiling over the past few years. Harry Hill recently joined an ever-growing number of people enthusing about this kooky Geordie lass."



Nominated as one of Screen International's 2012 "Stars Of Tomorrow", Aiysha Hart will be seen next year in Richard Curtis' new time travel rom-com About Time. Hart is also playing the female lead opposite Paddy Considine in thriller Honour, which she made immediately after finishing her English literature and film degree at King's College, London. "She's young, beautiful and has a voice that is as delicious in Arabic as it is in English," is the way her agents describe her. In her mid 20s, the British actress, whose mother is from Liverpool and whose father is Saudi Arabian, grew up in Surrey. She can manage the full gamut of accents from Scouse to Geordie, from French to American. Hart is still at the start of her career but her versatility is paying off. Alongside Honour and About Time, she has also worked with cult US horror director Tobe Hooper on his English/Arabic thriller, Djinn.



Ryan Wigglesworth's cinematic good looks and commanding manner suit his importance in cutting-edge contemporary music. A fine pianist and budding composer, he is also the conductor of choice for daunting new operatic scores: amongst other things, at Covent Garden for Sir Harrison Birtwistle's "The Minotaur" on 17 January, and at Aldeburgh for a Judith Weir premiere on 8 June.



The Nottingham-born, ex-MTV presenter and one-time face of Big Brother spin-off Bit On The Side takes over the late-night specialist music slot on Radio 1. This is no small task given that John Peel once presented the show, but Levine should be a breath of fresh air on a station still dominated by shouty boys.


TOTALLY TOM – Tom Stourton and Tom Palmer, both 25

Special One To Watch Buy-One-Get-One-Free Promotion! Totally Tom consists of Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton, two comedy performers who have been making enough of a noise on the margins of various shows, including BBC3's Live at the Electric and Alan Partridge's Mid-Morning Matters, to make it a fair bet that they will get their own. Funny and twisted (their Comedy Lab showcase included a Hitler Youth sketch played as if it was Hollyoaks) you will see more of them, not least in their new one-off film for Sky Atlantic Adventure Venture next month.



Birmingham Royal Ballet soloist Maureya Lebowitz has dark good looks, strong technique and a springy jump. Her vivid stage presence means she draws the eye: even with group dances and crowd scenes, I find myself focusing on her stylish dancing. Lebowitz stands out in soloist roles, and is moving into star parts – she's just made a successful debut in David Bintley's production of Cinderella.



A video and installation artist who likes to subvert conventions of language and boundaries, French-born and UK resident Prevost has spent a sojourn in Italy since winning the MaxMara Art Prize for Women last year. The results will be shown at the Whitechapel Gallery over Easter. Fascinating to see whether the "Divine Country" affects her as it has so many artists before.



There's a lovely warmth and comic quirkiness in the writing of this 27 year old Hull-based dramatist, as was evidenced at the Bush in his award-winning The Kitchen Sink about folk coping with the recession in the faded coastal town of Withernsea. Instead of trading in fashionable anger and despair, Wells shrewdly and provocatively dares to see the goodness in people. In 2013, Paines Plough are taking his new piece, Jumpers for Goalposts, on a national tour – the next step in what I predict will be a long and very bright future



A composition graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire, Mvula adds orchestral flourish to rich harmonies and vocals inspired by the soul singers she grew up admiring (Jill Scott and Erykah Badu). Already shortlisted for the BRITs Critics' Choice Award, which predicted great things from the likes of Adele and Emeli Sandé, her debut album Sing To The Moon is set for release in March.



Selasi – born to Ghanaian and Nigerian parents in London, and raised in Massachusetts – writes about the African diaspora across continents and cultures with an assurance and sophistication that belie her tender years. After a barnstorming short-story debut in Granta, and advocacy from both Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie, she publishes her first novel, Ghana Must Go, in April that already trails clouds of glory. Think Zadie Smith meets Chimamanda Adichie, the crass pitch might go. But her voice is utterly her own.

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