December 10, 2018

The Wellington Theatre Awards  

Wellington’s theatre industry assembled at the Amokura Gallery, Te Papa on the evening of Sunday 9 December to honour theatrical achievements and artistic excellence in 2018. The celebrations centred on the theme of Our Voice, honouring 125 years of women’s suffrage.  

The evening began with a karanga and mihi led Toni Huata and Tānemahuta Gray. A roaring waiata of ‘Tutira Mai Ngā Iwi’ by the whole room of 300 guests followed, starting the night off – and ended the formalities – with a sense of unity and collective pride.* 

This year’s awards were hosted with warmth and generosity of spirit by new MC Jo Randerson, artistic director of Barbarian Productions. Jo spoke to the inclusivity, fairness and support sought by the passionate community of theatre practitioners in the capital.

This year’s Mayoral Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre went posthumously to former New Zealand Festival director Sue Paterson, for her more than 40 years of service to arts and culture. Her son Jack accepted the award on her behalf.

Major winners on the night included acclaimed dance-based work Meremere, and Rushes, an interactive promenade piece. The Jack Jeffs Charitable Trust Production of the Year was awarded to FCC and the New Zealand Festival for Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, for its expert staging and cast of powerful Pasefika women. Wild Dogs Under My Skirt was also acknowledged with Rachel Marlow’s win for lighting design and Anapela Polataivao as the Dorothy McKegg Actress of the Year.

The Wellington Theatre Awards congratulates all nominees and creatives on an excellent year of theatre. We can’t wait to see what you create in 2019!

The Theatre Awards Trust would like to sincerely acknowledge the incredible support of: Wellington City Council, Jack Jeffs Charitable Trust, The Lion Foundation, Four Winds Foundation, The Dominion Post, BATS Theatre, Capital E, Circa Theatre, Emerging Artists Trust, Hannah Playhouse, MJF Lighting, Park Road Post, Playmarket, Showcast, Sileni Estates, Taki Rua, Toi Whakaari, Victoria University of Wellington and WETA Workshop.


(See all nominees here.)

The George Webby Most Promising Newcomer Award
Eleanor Strathern, Producer, A Mulled Whine

The Willem Wassenaar Most Promising Newcomer Award
Trae Te Wiki, Acting Hine Kahāwai; Writing Beneath Skin and Bone

The Mayoral Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre
Sue Paterson

Lighting Designer of the Year
Rachel Marlow Wild Dogs | Peter and the Wolf 

Sound Designer of the Year
Eden Mulholland Meremere | Rushes

The Constance Scott Kirkaldie Outstanding Composer of Music
Robin Kelly Valerie

Set Designer of the Year
John Verryt Rushes

The Paul Jenden Costume Designer of the Year
Sheila Horton Bloomsbury Women and the Wild Colonial Girl

The Peter Harcourt New Playwright of the Year
Hōhepa Waitoa He Kura E Huna Ana

Outstanding new New Zealand Play of the Year
D. F. Mamea Still Life with Chickens

The Absolutely Positively Most Original Production of the Year
Jane Doe Zanetti Productions

The Grant Tilly Actor of the Year
Rodney Bell Meremere

The Dorothy McKegg Actress of the Year
Anapela Polataivao Wild Dogs Under my Skirt

The Campion Accolade for Outstanding Performance
Goretti Chadwick Still Life with Chickens

The Michele Amas Accolade for Outstanding Performance
Anya Tate-Manning My Best Dead Friend 

Excellence Award for AV Design
Rowan Pierce Big J Stylez | Meremere | Rushes 

Excellence Award for Puppetry 
Peter and The Wolf

Excellence Award for Community Engagement 
Taurima Vibes Breathe | All Good

Director of the Year
Malia Johnston Meremere | Rushes

The Jack Jeffs Charitable Trust Production of the Year
Wild Dogs Under my Skirt NZ Festival and FCC 

 –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –
*Toni Huata tutored the crowd in the correct way to sing it – see/listen to: Have we been singing ‘Tutira Mai Nga Iwi’ wrong?  

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