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Top Accolades Handed Out to Auckland’s Theatre Community



The Auckland Theatre Awards celebrated their 6th anniversary last night with the introduction of formally judged Excellence Awards. The first time such awards have been given out in Auckland. The awards were decided on by a panel of 6 judges who were kept secret until the event last night. The judging panel for 2014 were; theatre maker Marie Adams, actor and director Rachel House, playwright Sam Brooks, actor and theatre manager Sam Snedden, festival director Carla von Zon and theatre administrator/lover Gilli Sutton.

Actress Bronwyn Bradley presented the formal awards section including the Excellence, Lifetime Achievement and Newcomer Awards.

Labour MP and shadow minister for the arts, Jacinda Ardren, was a special guest and presented some of the People’s Choice awards as well as the HACKMAN cup for Most Original Production.

The People’s Choice section was judged by public survey and received over 1000 nominations.

The evening, held at the Wintergarden in the Civic, was attended by 350 members of the Auckland Theatre community, including well known faces Michael Hurst, Antonia Prebble, Peter Elliot and Robyn Malcolm. Actor and comedian Chris Parker MC’d the event which included skits, a tony awards style musical number and a special performance from the 2014 hit show (and Excellence Award winner) Daffodils.

Event organisers Kip Chapman and Rachel Forman were extremely pleased with reaction from the industry to the introduction of the new Excellence Awards. “These awards are a great recognition of excellence for the artists involved and provide the general public with a strong indicator as to which companies are creating the best work in Auckland.”

A new nationwide initiative honouring service and dedication to the industry premiered at the Auckland Theatre Awards where long serving practitioners were awarded Service Honour medals for achieving 25, 50 or 100 professional productions. Receiving the medals were well known names such as 25 -Sophie Roberts (Silo Theatre director), 50 -Roger Hall (playwright) and 100- Jennifer Ward Lealand (Actress).

The winners of the 2014 Auckland Theatre Awards are as follows:

Excellence Awards
1. Achieving excellence across all aspects of this ambitious production: Shane Bosher and the creative team behind Angels In America - Silo Theatre
2. Achieving excellence with it’s original concept and execution: 360: A Theatre of Recollections - Theatre Stampede and Nightsong Productions
3. Achieving excellence in a wide range of performances: Stephen Lovatt - Actor
4. Achieving excellence in lighting design: Jane Hakaraia - various projects
5. Achieving excellence in all aspects of producing their debut production Daffodils: Bullet Heart Club - emerging Theatre Company
6. Achieving excellence in fostering new and emerging artists in Auckland City: The Basement Theatre
7. Achieving excellence in physical performance: Trygve Wakenshaw various productions

The Lifetime Achievement Award
Linda Cartwright - actor and vocal coach

Newcomer Awards
Lavinia Uhila - Producer and Actor
Jess Sayer - Actor and Playwright
Amanaki Prescott - Dancer, Actor and Playwright

People’s Choice Awards
Mangere Arts Centre Award for Best Ensemble... The cast of Luncheon
The Auckland Actors Award for Best Death… The cast of LIES
The Elephant Publicity Award for Best PosterA Boy Wonder
The Gail Cowan Award for Best Viral Marketing CampaignSin
The TAPAC Award for Best Entrance… Fasitua Amosa Black Faggot
The Actor's Equity Award for Best Technical F*#k up…Cookiegate - Jesus Christ Superstar
The Playmarket Award for Best line in a Kiwi Play… “He’s my type. Type 1 diabeties”. Tongan Morris Men
The Johnson & Laird Management Award for Best Actress/Actor Playing a Character with a Disability/Medical Condition of the Year… Tom Sainsbury - The Fly
The APRA Award for Best Music… Everything Thomas Press did
The Kathryn Rawlings and Associates Award for Fastest Pack in / Pack Out… the cast of Famous Flora
The South Pacific Pictures Award for Best Comeback… John Tui in The Motherfucker with the Hat
The Actors Program Award for Best Nudity… Geordie Holibar Wine Lips
The Sharu Loves Hats Award for Best Pash… Beulah Koale and Lauren Gibson SONS

Newcomer bios:
Lavinia Uhila - Producer and Actor

Lavinia is a NASDA grad who has appeared in various shows including Chicago for Auckland Theatre Company, she produced THE FEAST for RED LEAP at THE BASEMENT in October. She is also the driving force behind 3D – a youth theatre programme for at risk youth in West Auckland (based at Corbans) that she has started from scratch. This month they are performing publicly for the first time as part of Urbanesia. She is totally committed to changing the lives of young people in her community and she has a game plan for growing 3D. An exciting young practitioner Lavinia is an actor who has set her sights on making a real difference as a Producer and leader.

Jess Sayer - Actor and Playwright
Jess is a twenty four year old actor and playwright living and working in Auckland and Rotorua. She has won the Playmarket b425 award three times, and been shortlisted for the Adam NZ award twice. She co-founded Junket Theatre company in 2012 and has since staged four of her own works - Elevator, Wings, Crunchy Silk and Fix at The Basement in Auckland. Elevator is now set to premiere in North Carolina in March of 2015. She has also written and storylined for both South Pacific Pictures and Cinco Cine.
Recent stage credits include; Mo in Mo and Jess Kill Susie By Gary Henderson, Margaret Reardon in Always My Sister by Michaelanne Forster and Alice in Famous Flora by Elizabeth Easter.
Jess is a proud member of the NZ Equity National Performers Committee and is an inaugural graduate actor of The Actors' Program class of 2012.

Amanaki Prescott - Actor, Dancer and playwright
Amanaki has been dancing since the day she could walk; from contemporary to Voguing, she’s done it all. She is a recent graduate of the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (2011) and has been actively involved in the hip-hop dance scene and a judge at the New Zealand HipHop Nationals. Dance highlights include choreographing for LIMA Dance Productions and Street Dance New Zealand’s National Champions of 2011- Vogue Dance Crew. She has recently been crowned Fresh Factor pageant winner 2012 (Transgender pageant). Amanaki has choreographed a number of shows for different companies including Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) and Kila Kokonut Krew (KKK) choreographed and created her own piece for the Matala festival. Amanaki is also a key member and co-choreographer of Fine fatale, a transgender and gay dance company featured in Urbanesia (2014) and TEMPO (2013). Amanaki’s recent theatre appearances include A Frigate Bird Sings for ATC, MISS.Understood (PIPA Grad 2014) which she also co-wrote, and the hit show of this years Pride Festival Teen Faggots come to Life.


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