Local shows honoured

Leading the way . . . Taking part in the OSTAs (clockwise from bottom left) West Otago Theatrical Society’s Phantom of the Opera sound director Andrew Gordon (left) receives the award for best sound from OSTAs chairman Brian Pay; OSTAs committee member Bruce McDowell (left), presents the best youth production award for Gore Musical Theatre’s Seussical Jr production to (from left) director Caleb Bell, choreographer Nikoia McKelvie, musical director Alicia Prescott and Gore Musical Theatre president Brian Pay; Kayla Wilcox, who starred in the West Otago Theatrical Society’s Phantom of the Opera production, accepts the award for best leading female in a musical at the OSTAs. PHOTOS: MEGAN HARRINGTON

Two local productions were among those recognised when Gore rolled out the red carpet at the weekend to celebrate the South’s thriving theatre scene.
The 2022 Otago Southland Theatre Awards (Ostas) took place at the Gore Town & Country club on Saturday night, attended by 190 patrons and representatives from nine different theatre groups across Southland and Otago.

For its Seussical Jr production, Gore Musical Theatre won best makeup and hair, best properties and best youth production.
West Otago Theatrical Society won best sound for its production of Phantom of the Opera and cast members Kayla Wilcox and Claire Barton were named best leading female in a musical and best supporting female in a musical respectively.

Ms Wilcox, who played Christine, said it was her dream role and to be recognised for her performance was one of the best moments of her life.
‘‘It felt amazing. It’s such a huge honour even to be nominated.’’
In a short speech, she thanked the Ostas committee and her fellow cast and crew members.

Ms Barton, who was unable to be there on the night, said she was disappointed to have missed it and was surprised to learn she had won.
‘‘I hadn’t actually thought I’d win because it was a really impressive pool of talent. Two of the people I was up against I’d actually seen performing in Chicago and literally my jaw just dropped.’’
Phantom of the Opera director Margie Rea said both Ms Wilcox and Ms Barton were very talented and was glad to see them recognised alongside Andrew Gordon, who had done a fantastic job in the sound department for many productions over the years.
 ‘‘I’m absolutely delighted.’’
The awards were a recognition of not just the individuals, but the whole team that helped make them shine, she said.

Gore Musical Theatre president Brian Pay said for a youth production such as Seussical Jr, it was a testament in itself to be nominated alongside other productions put on by experienced adults.
For it to then win three awards showed those children had a very bright future.
Best overall production was won by Taieri Musical for its production of Chicago.
Also serving as the new Ostas chairman, Mr Pay said it was an enjoyable night for members of the theatre community to come together and celebrate.
‘‘It was packed. There was a lot of excitement, great awards and great entertainment.’’
It was a chance for theatre companies in the area to compare and to get an accolade for the hard work they put in.
The calibre of the productions they put on was ‘‘amazingly strong’’, he said.