HOLLYWOOD came to Hampshire as our own version of the Academy Awards brought glitz and glamour to the Grand Harbour Hotel.
Talented youngsters from Mayflower Productions Summer Youth Project cheered as they scooped the main gong for their 'piractically perfect' version of The Pirates of Penzance at the Daily Echo Curtain Call Awards.
A sold out audience of more than 400 thespians, crew and theatre lovers gathered for the red carpet event, which each year celebrates the very best of amateur dramatics in the South.
They waited with bated breath as our special guest, Hampshire's own TV star Sarah Parish, opened the golden envelopes to reveal the winners in each of 37 categories.
From village halls to top professional theatres and from low budget to blockbuster productions, amateur theatre is thriving in Hampshire and beyond.
The Daily Echo’s team of judges saw hundreds of productions in each genre – drama, comedy, musicals and operas, youth productions, Shakespeare and pantomimes – throughout 2016 before making their decisions on the cream of the crop.
Guests, dressed in cocktail dresses and black tie finest, tucked into a delicious three course meal ahead of the ceremony, compered by the Daily Echo’s editor Ian Murray and entertainments editor Lorelei Reddin, before dancing the night away at the disco.
Organiser Jo Richardson thanked Mistresses, Broadchurch and Cutting It actress Sarah Parish, the Daily Echo’s team of reviewers, the Grand Harbour Hotel for sponsoring the arrival drinks, Mike Andrews, Ian Christie and team for the stage, sound and lighting, Paris Smith for sponsoring the prizes for each winner and Scenery Solutions for sponsoring the two main awards and printing.
The winners were:
- Best Newcomer: Herbie Curran. Bartley in The Cripple of Inishmaan. RAODS. A maddeningly patient sweet selector.
- Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Ben Smart. Jack Lane in The Herbal Bed. Titchfield Festival Theatre. Perfectly in character with a shrewd eye on the audience.
- Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Jessi Wilson. Katie Maurice in Anne of Green Gables. Bench Theatre. Showed a perfect theatrical sense throughout.
- Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Howard Corbett. Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. Freemantle United Reformed Church. Howard’s powerful vocals wouldn’t be out of place onstage at Glastonbury.
- Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Luanssa Goodman. Anita in West Side Story. Basingstoke Amateur Operatic Society. Didn’t waste the opportunity in her self-confessed dream-role.
- Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Comic Drama: David Baldwin. Aylott in A Month of Sundays. Cheriton Players. David was totally believable, as he tugged at the audience’s heart strings with his touching characterisation.
- Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Comic Drama Carol Ings. Madame Arcarti in Blithe Spirit. Hamble Players. She wafted and prostrated around the stage, claiming it as her own.
- Best Supporting Actor in a Youth Production: Owen Hawes. Burt Barry in 42nd Street. Performing Arts Company. A true comic delight.
- Best Supporting Actress in a Youth Production: Georgina Hendry. Police Sergeant in The Pirates of Penzance. Mayflower Productions Summer Youth Project. A truly accomplished actress.
- Best Supporting Actor in a Shakespeare Play: Dan Fox. Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titchfield Festival Theatre. Went about his midnight mischief with great charm.
- Best Supporting Actress in a Shakespeare Play: Sarah Parnell. Paulina in The Winter’s Tale. Southsea Shakespeare Actors. Had the audience wiping away their tears.
- Best Lighting, Sound and Effects: Joel Powney (lighting) and George Cotterill (sound). Toad of Toad Hall. Studio Theatre Salisbury. Plonked us right in the car next to Mr Toad.
- Best Choreographer: Harry Andreou. Hot Mikado. RAODS. Harry has become one of the local ‘go-to’ musical theatre specialists and proved it here.
- Best Opera or Musical: Into The Woods. CCADS.This was a CCADS production of the highest order that ticked every box.
- Best Musical Director: Louise Helyer. Into The Woods. CCADS. Louise’s orchestra created note-perfect, perfectly-pitched, scene-settings.
- Best Actor in a Drama: Jonathan Barney-Marmont. Gregor in Metamorphosis. Maskers Theatre Company. An excellent performance at the centre of this show.
- Best Actress in a Drama: Tasmin Halford. Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. Bench Theatre. A real star performance.
- Best Actor in a Musical: John-Paul McCrohon. The Baker in Into The Woods. CCADS. Another masterful performance from ‘JP’, stitching all the scenes together.
- Best Actress in a Musical: Helen Stoddart. Rita O’Grady in Made In Dagenham. South Downe Musical Society. Helen impressively displayed humour, angst and pathos in equal measures.
- Best Actor in a Comedy or Comic Drama: Steve Reading. Gordon in Neville’s Island. Porchester Players. Deliciously understated performance of a man with serious anger issues.
- Best Actress in a Comedy or Comic Drama: Kerry Butcher. Nell Gwynn in Nell Gwynn. RAODS. Kerry delighted the audience with her superb portrayal of this historical character.
- Best Actor in a Youth Production: Joseph Lukehurst. Nathan in Guys and Dolls. RicNic Hampshire. A star turn.
- Best Actress in a Youth Production: Grace Murray. Antler in Remote. Youth Theatre Royal, Winchester. A winning performance.
- Best Actor in a Shakespeare Play: Andy Thomas and Rob Bartlett. Leontes and Polixenes in The Winter’s Tale. Southsea Shakespeare Actors. Wonderfully sympathetic and multi-layered performances from both actors.
- Best Actress in a Shakespeare Play: Susie Coutts. Hermione in The Winter’s Tale. Southsea Shakespeare Actors. Dignified and elegant throughout her ordeal.
- Best Performance in a Pantomime: Dave Wilkins. Widow Twankey in Aladdin. Chameleon Theatre Company. Never gives less than an absolutely hilarious performance.
- Best Pantomime: Dick Whittington. Pocket Panto. Sheer perfection.
- Best Set and Props Studio: Theatre Salisbury. The Ladykillers and Female Transport. So good they won it twice!
- Best Costumes Maskers Theatre Company: Pygmalion and Di & Viv & Rose. Head and shoulders ahead in the wardrobe department this year.
- Best Performance in an Opera: Mark Ponsford. Reginald Bunthorne in Patience. Pocket Theatre.Mark consistently delivers as one of the funniest, most talented, individuals in the area.
- Best Director of a Drama: Mark Wakeman. Anne of Green Gables. Bench Theatre. Served up a seasonal treat with this beloved story, without mentioning Christmas once!
- Best Director of a Musical or Opera: John-Paul McCrohon. Into The Woods, CCADS. John-Paul once again amply demonstrated that he is a master of his craft.
- Best Director of a Comedy / Comic Drama: Nell Gwynne. RAODS. Everything and everyone worked in the retelling of this historical tale.
- Best Director of a Youth Production: Michael Ockwell. The Pirates of Penzance. Mayflower Productions Summer Youth Project. A directorial masterclass.
- Best Director of a Shakespeare Play: Nick Downes. The Winter’s Tale. Southsea Shakespeare Actors. Near-perfect in its staging, costuming and performances.
- Youth Ensemble Award sponsored by Scenery Solutions: The Pirates of Penzance. Mayflower Productions Summer Youth Project. A tremendous theatrical experience and the youth production of the year.
- Production of the Year sponsored by Scenery Solutions: The Pirates of Penzance. Mayflower Productions Summer Youth Project. Piractically perfect.
SEE TODAY'S DAILY ECHO FOR A SIX-PAGE CURTAIN CALL PICTURE SPECIAL