Amateur theatre was in the spotlight last night as six groups competed for this year’s Brighton and Hove Arts Council Drama Awards.
Adjudicator Trevor Jones, a professional actor for 50 years, announced the winners at a reception held at BHASVIC.
Lancing Repertory Players, entering for the first time, were overjoyed to win best overall production, the most coveted award.
Their play, Bouncers, was set in a nightclub in the north of England and had a cast of four men playing 33 characters, with the only props being the odd handbag.
Mr Jones was impressed by the imaginative set-up in the auditorium, where the cabaret-style seating gave the audience the feeling they were actually in a nightclub.
He gave Lancing two more awards – Linsay Oliver was named best director and Ian Black won best sound design.
Southwick Players picked up five awards for Blue Remembered Hills, which Mr Jones described as a ‘brilliantly produced play’, awarding it the new Arthur Churchill Award for Excellence.
Directors Nettie Sheridan and Gary Cook picked up the award for best technical achievement for the ‘superb effect of the burning barn’.
Tobias Clay, who played Donald was named best actor, Beverley Grover won best lighting design and Martin Oakley was awarded best set design for the Players.
Wick Theatre Company picked up two awards and Mr Jones praised director Dan Dryer for the modern political references he wove into Accidental Death of an Anarchist.
Emily Hale, who played Superintendent, was named best supporting actress and Guy Steddon, who played Pissani, won best supporting actor. Sarah Frost, who was Felletti, was also nominated for best supporting actress.
Audrey Pickles, costumier for Rottingdean Drama Society, won best costume design for their production of Gaslight.
There were two awards for the Brighton-based New Venture Theatre, who performed The Clean House.
Stage manager Matt Bosica won best stage crew and Kerri Frost, who played Lane, won best actress.
Burgess Hill Theatre Club also received two awards for its production of The Lifesavers.
The new Coffin Mew Award was presented to the club for the accomplished use of sign language and director Phil Hawkins, who created the programme design, won best publicity.
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