Quality theatre celebrated at Dunedin Theatre Awards

Production of the year . . . Dunedin Theatre Awards founder Patrick Davies (left) congratulates director Alex Wilson and actors in the absurdist play The Bald Soprano, which won the title of production of the year at Monday night's awards. PHOTO: KIRSTY TOD

The extraordinary breadth and quality of theatre in the city was highlighted and celebrated at the 10th annual Dunedin Theatre Awards.

The awards ceremony, held on Monday night at Hanover Hall, was attended by about 100 people, including theatre awards founder Patrick Davies and Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins.

The awards finalists and winners were selected by the Dunedin Theatre Reviewers Collective, comprising Barbara Frame, Terry MacTavish, Kimberley Buchan, Helen Watson White, and myself.

The major award of production of the decade went to powerful school siege drama Punk Rock, directed by Lara Macgregor and staged at the now-defunct Fortune Theatre in 2015.

Production of the year for 2019 went to Arcade Theatre Production’s absurdist comedy The Bald Soprano, by Eugene Ionesco, and director of the year was Lara MacGregor for The Flick by Annie Baker (Wow! Productions).

Three outstanding performance awards were presented; to Nick Dunbar for his role as Sam in The Flick (Wow!), Laura Wells for her role as the maid in Ophelia Thinks Harder (Globe Theatre), and Cheyne Jenkinson for multiple roles in multiple productions.

The award for outstanding ensemble performance went to the cast of The Bald Soprano, and the award for emerging talent went to actor Lani Swann.

The award for outstanding visiting production went to the Pop Up Globe for its hilarious production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure

The Robert Lord Award for outstanding script/narrative went to Emily Duncan for Le Sujet Parle, and the Otago Community Trust Award for outstanding community engagement went to Trouble-D.

The award for lighting, sound or AV went to Kerian Varaine for AV on The Toy Factory Fire; set design to Shannon van Rooijen for Wings; and there were two awards for costume design Richard II (Globe) and Maryanne Wright-Smyth for The Mikado (Opera Otago).

A contribution to Dunedin theatre award went to John Watson for nearly 50 years of performance and teaching.

Globe Theatre won company of the year, Chris Manley took outstanding contribution to theatre education, The Playhouse won contribution to children’s theatre, and Unesco Cities of Literature Short Play Festival won the outstanding theatre enterprise award.