We had a wonderful night celebrating our 2020 season at our annual theatre awards, The Toscars. Read on to hear from our President Stella McCallum and find out who nabbed the top gongs!
President Stella McCallum’s speech at The 2020 Toscars
Thanks to you all for coming to celebrate our achievements of 2020. Tonight marks the 52nd Toscars celebration. A tradition that’s even older than me, but not by much.
Last year was challenging for theatres all around the world. As President of New Plymouth Little Theatre, I am extremely proud of how we all pulled together as a community to bring two enjoyable shows to our patrons whilst ensuring that we keep everyone safe by following Government-directed preventative measures and guidelines. We, as a committee, place great importance on the health and wellbeing of our community and despite significant interruptions to normal operations, we can report another successful year of profitable shows.
Those interruptions resulted in a nine-month rehearsal and production season for Enchanted April by Matthew Barber – directed by Vivienne Baty. The team on and off stage displayed a remarkable resilience during this time, even rehearsing online to ensure they brought our patrons a quality show and welcome relief during a stressful time.
Our Christmas show this year saw the return of a hilarious, old favourite; A Kick in the Baubles by Gordon Steele – directed by Christine King.
Both plays were well received by patrons and reviewers.
In addition to these shows, we continue to host Singer Songwriters and Taranaki Theatre Sports. We also hosted a memorial for a special and well-loved member of our theatre community; Derek Treeby.
Last year, we successfully secured $175,322 from the Department of Internal Affairs via the Lotteries Commission. Together with donations from office bearers, from Gordon Craig for work completed by Brian Smith, earnings from restored antique equipment sold and a contribution from theatre funds, a total of $228,940 was raised to launch a project managed by our theatre representative, Brian Smith, which has seen structural reinforcements and renovations that will secure the future of New Zealand’s oldest theatre.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to extend a special word of thanks to our working group team, comprising Brian Smith, Chris Larsen, Graham Blanks, Andy Spindler, Tony Pearce, Sonya Armstrong, Sorrell Hoskin and Andrew Priest, who have toiled many, many hours to ensure the project’s success.
I would also like to make special mention of our patron Andy Spindler who recently transferred to Hamilton. Fortunately, Andy has offered to remain in the position of Patron and on behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you for your wisdom and support.
We are also grateful for continued sponsorship from Primo Wireless and Mediaworks.
We’ve had an exciting year ahead to look forward to. Last month, we presented our first show of the year, the Broadway hit, Sylvia, directed by Nicci Smith. Our winter show is the New Zealand community theatre premiere of The Full Monty directed by John Lawson and our Christmas show this year will be directed by Mary Barron and I, The Vicar of Dibley at Christmas. I hope you all come to see and support these wonderful shows.
Now, I’d like to move on the the awards. We will hear from our adjudicator after the supper break but I would like to present some awards to a few people who don’t usually step on stage but they keep this place working and entertaining the community. Before I do so, I would like to thank every single person who has contributed to the running of the theatre and its shows over the last year, particularly in such a climate of health concern and uncertainty.
President’s Cup – Mary Barron
Backstage Excellence – Brian Smith
Best Club Member – Graham Banks and Sorrell Hoskin
Technical Excellence – Derek Baker
Distinguished Service to the Theatre – Chris Larsen
Most Promising Performer – Suzy Adair (A Kick in the Baubles)
Best Supporting Actress – Glenys Horsfall (Enchanted April)
Best Supporting Actor – Adam Sedgwick (A Kick in the Baubles)
Best Actress – Vicky Fairley (Enchanted April)
Best Actor – John Lawson (A Kick in the Baubles)
Best Set (Stagecraft Cup) – John Lawson – (Enchanted April)
Best Production – (Enchanted April)