December 6, 2017


The 9th Annual Auckland Theatre Awards were an uproarious success on Monday night in the Wintergarden at The Civic. Hosted by the hilarious Johanna Cosgrove and directed by Sam Snedden, the awards celebrated the breadth of the theatre community in Auckland with a live band, full dance numbers and more costume changes then you can shake a stick at (thanks to Miss Crabb). The community was honoured to welcome Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern to the proceedings, and showed their support by an instantaneous standing ovation on her arrival.

The Prime Minister also presented the Hackman Cup for Most Original Production of the Year to ‘OTHER [chinese]’, and was serenaded onstage by Cosgrove playing Chariots of Fire on the saxophone. Ardern responded to her welcome by saying, “I’ll add to my list of many firsts this year.”

She went on to say:

“I personally crave the day when we don’t have to keep talking about [why the arts are important], when we all just know it. When we mention the word well-being, and we think about the arts. When we mention the word community, and we think about the arts. When we mention togetherness, identity, culture, our heritage, and we think about the arts. And I crave the day when we stop explaining ourselves, and people just know it.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jeremy Collins, whose career in theatre began in lighting design at Mercury Theatre. Jeremy went on to develop Selecon (now Philips Selecon), one of the world’s foremost producers of luminaires for theatre, as well as providing mentorship and advocacy to others in the industry.

The Excellence Awards, which were judged by a panel of five industry judges were awarded as follows by presenter Jennifer Ward-Lealand:

Overall Body of Work: John Verryt (Set Design)
Overall Body of Work: FAFSWAG
Overall Production: OTHER [chinese] directed by Alice Canton, produced by Julie Zhu
Overall Production: Mirror, Mirror directed by Troy Tuua, produced by Mangere Arts Centre
Overall Production: Nell Gwynn directed by Colin McColl, produced by Auckland Theatre Company
Performance: Nicole Whippy for The Mountaintop
Performance: Rutene Spooner for Super HUGH-Man
Innovation of Form: Peter & the Wolf, created by Sophie Roberts & Leon Radojkovic, produced by Silo Theatre
Excellence in Adaptation: E Kore A Muri E Hokia (Mo & Jess Kill Susie) by Te Rēhia Theatre

In 2017, the judges also chose to add a further and inaugural excellence award for Community Spirit to the Auckland Fringe festival.

This year the Outstanding Newcomer Awards sponsored by Jonty Crane were kept secret – and the winners on the night were Leki Jackson-Bourke, Julie Zhu and Bronwyn Ensor.

The People’s Choice Awards were awarded as follows:

  • The Actors Equity Award for Best Show by Breakthrough or Emerging artists: ‘I Ain’t Mad At Cha’ written by Turene Jones, directed by Jatinder Singh, produced by Ngahiriwa Rauhina and presented by WAITĪ Productions.
  • The Sharu Loves Hats Award for Best Pash: Ashleigh Taylor & Lucy Lawless and then Lucy Lawless & Liv Tenant in ‘Pleasuredome’          
  • Gail Cowan Management’s Best Entrance Award: The women in the cast of ATC’s ‘BOYS’
  • Tour Makers’ Award for Travelling Hero: ‘Hudson & Halls Live!’
  • The Mangere Arts Centre Best Ensemble Performance went to two winners: Sau E Siva’s ‘Lalelei’ & ‘Swabhoomi’: Borrowed Earth by Prayas Theatre              
  • The Philips Entertainment Award for Best Lighting Design: Rachel Marlow for… too many shows to mention.
  • The Pantograph Punch Award for Best Review: Kate Prior’s ‘Pleasuredome’ review           
  • Te Pou Theatre Award for Best Show Not Made by Pakeha (or Dirty D Word Award): ‘Meet the Fakas’ by Leki Jackson-Bourke, Maree Webster & Jayne Tupou Uhi
  • The Playmarket Award for Best Line in a Kiwi show: “I’m more cooked than a Kaikohe P den” – Johanna Cosgrove in ‘AUNTY’
  • APRA’s Award for Best Music or Sound Design: Leon Radojkovic for ‘Amadeus’
  • The Johnson & Laird Management Award for Best Supporting Cast Member: Byron Coll in everything!
  • Auckland Actors Award for Best Onstage Death or Injury: Tim Carlsen for cutting his hand off in ‘Spirit House’
  • Inside Out Most Innovative Set Award: ‘Peter & the Wolf’ by Dan Williams
  • iTICKET Award for Best Producer: Zanetti Productions    
  • The Actors Program Award for Best Nudity: Arlo Gibson and Ash Jones in ‘Non-Flower Elements’
  • The Elephant Publicity Award for Best Poster: ‘Earthquakes in London’ by Sacha Stejko & Last Tapes Theatre
  • The Action Actors Award for Best Portrayal of a Real Job: Jack Buchanan in ‘Peer Gynt’ as a Tortured Playwright
  • PatronBase Award Best Unsung Venue Staff Member: Bar Manager at the Basement Theatre Faith Tapsell

Also, by the ever-accurate clap-o-meter, iTICKET was awarded the best dressed on the night.

The Auckland Theatre Awards are by the community, and for the community, and it wouldn’t be impossible without the generous support of our Principal Sponsor Auckland Live and major industry sponsors Entertainment Accounting Services Ltd, Basement Theatre, Auckland Theatre Company, Silo Theatre, Q Theatre and the Auckland Arts Festival, as well as patron saint of this year’s Awards, Michelle Lafferty. 

We were also supported by Delmaine Fine Foods and newcomer Wild Wheat for nibbles for our guests! 

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