July 8, 2021


Five theatre practitioners are to be awarded an Out of the Limelight theatre award, set up with funds from the Sir Roger Hall Theatre Fund which is handled by the Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi. This group of Awards of $5,000 each will be made in alternate years with the Sir Roger Hall Theatre Arts Foundation Laureate Award (first awarded in 2020).  

These new Awards give recognition to those theatre practitioners without whose work most theatre productions could not take place, yet who rarely get the sort of recognition that is given to playwrights, directors and those who tread the boards.

The recipients are:

Elizabeth Whiting, costume designer

Marcus McShane, lighting designer and visual artist

Harold Moot, set designer

Eric Gardiner, stage manager

Playmarket, the playwrights’ agency and script development organisation

Elizabeth Whiting has designed costumes for many theatre companies, plus opera and dance companies here and overseas. Her work has been seen at many international festivals and at The World of Wearable Art. In 2010, she won the Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Costume Design for The Arrival (Red Leap Theatre). Her range is enormous, from Falstaff to Hudson and Halls Live! This year some of her designs include Galileo and Blithe Spirit for ATC, and Don Pasquale for NZ Opera‘s Opera in Schools.

Marcus McShane is one of New Zealand’s most prolific designers, having produced over 500 theatre designs and installation artworks since 2005, plus works for architecture and museum design and has received many national and international awards for his work. In 2019 he launched an installation of his lightbox works, 101 Rants, which, with the help of twenty-five commissioned writers, transformed the public spaces of BATS Theatre for 101 days, and which is ongoing still. In 2021 he has been working in theatre and fine arts and creating his own work as well as new works with Borderline Arts Ensemble, Trick of the Light, The Conch, and La Mama (New York + Italy).

Harold Moot has worked in the professional theatre industry for over 33 years.
Freelancing as a designer, set builder and scenic artist, mostly for Christchurch’s The Court Theatre with more than 30 sets for them. He has also designed Jersey Boys for G&T productions in Auckland and Wellington in 2021, and for major musicals such as the New Zealand premiere of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for Showbiz Entertainment and Miss Saigon for the NZ Music Theatre Consortium. Harold has also worked in film, television and advertising including working at Weta Workshop.

Since Eric Gardiner arrived in New Zealand in 1964, he has stage managed more than 300 shows, his first with the Marlborough Repertory Society. He worked at Downstage from 1982 until 1996, first as senior stage manager and then as technical manager, this included touring with Full Marx 1 & 2, Hedda Gabler at the Edinburgh International Festival, and the inaugural Sydney Arts Festival. He was also production manager for the NZ show at the 1988 Expo in Brisbane. Eric started work at Circa theatre in 1996, and has been there for more than 25 years. More than one of his dogs have appeared in Circa shows…

Playmarket was founded in 1973 as a service organisation for playwrights and a key advocate for the continued growth of New Zealand theatre. It is funded by Creative New Zealand as a Toi Tōtara Haemata arts leadership organisation, and by Foundation North. Playmarket supports playwrights to write and develop new work, issues performance licences, collects royalty payments, and circulates plays to producers and theatres in Aotearoa and internationally. It also has a bookshop that sells a comprehensive range of New Zealand plays.

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