Drama prizes for all seasons at awards night
BRISTOL'S amateur theatre world celebrated the most talented performers in the region at the annual Rose Bowl Awards.
More than 100 productions, from across the South West, had been entered in the awards, which were held at the Winter Gardens, in Weston-super-Mare, known as the Oscars of local drama.
A total of 18 awards were presented to groups by Bristol Old Vic actor Howard Coggins, who began his career in Backwell.
The Kelvin Players, who perform successful productions in their own Gloucester Road studio Theatre and the Redgrave Theatre, dominated the drama awards on the night, turning their nine nominations into three award winners.
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A Man for all Seasons took the John Coe Award for Best Dramatic Production, with David Alexander being named as Best Actor for his performance as Sir Thomas More in the same production.
While Mr Alexander was collecting his award another member of the dramatics group, Claire Vincent, was waiting in the wings to collect the Eileen Hartly Hodder Award for Best Actress.
The award followed Ms Vincent's portrayal of Ursula Loyer in Vincent in Brixton, which was described by judges as being one to "savour and treasure".
All top three musical awards went to Somerset-based clubs.
The evening got away to a flying start for Greater Bristol clubs with the Sodbury Players carrying off the Bristol Hippodrome Award for best Pantomime/Variety/Revue, with their production of Aladdin.
The prestigious Post Award for best musical production was claimed by Bridgwater Amateur Operatic Society with their presentation of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd but the announcement that the award for Best Actor in a Musical had gone to Dylan Cheasley for his portrayal of Tateh in the Weston-super-Mare Operatic Society's Ragtime was met with one of the loudest cheers of the night.
Not content with the three youth awards on offer young companies and performers also took the Coup de Theatre Award and Stage Electrics Award for Technical Achievement.
A combination of the staging of the iconic rain sequence, silent screen footage, and impressive neon lighting design saw Bristol Musical Youth take the second award for their production of Singin' in the Rain.
Opera has its own award in Rose Bowl tradition and the winner was also a Bristol-based club. Bristol Opera's decision to stage the little known Heinrich Marschner Opera The Vampire reaped rich rewards when it was named as Best Opera.
It was Walter Hawkins, former chairman and managing director of the then-owner-of-the-Post Bristol United Press who, with his then theatre critic John Coe, founded the Awards 49-years-ago.
One of the judges of the evening said: "The pair were both keen supporters of local theatre and would have been pleased that a set design created as 'a labour of love' and 'a visual treat' won the Walter Hawkins Award for Creativity and Design. "This was the description given to the outstanding setting of The Titfield Thunderbolt by the Ship and Castle Theatre Company, also based in the city."
As next year marks the 50th anniversary of the awards entries for the golden jubilee season are already abundant and the audience have been promised something very special.
For more information visit http://rosebowlawards.org.uk.