Introducing the inaugural Auckland Theatre Awards for outstanding achievement.
Above: Lifetime achievement award recipients (from left) Raymond Hawthorne, Elizabeth McRae, Roger Hall, Gillian Sutton, Paul Minifie. Photo by Stephen Langdon.
For the past five years, actors, producers and technicians who poured their time, energy and money into creating theatre for the people of Auckland could, at the end of the year, aspire to taking home a gong for… the best pash, or the best technical cock-up, or even best death.
The Hackman Awards, a riff on Wellington’s rather more high-minded Chapman Tripp Awards, were started by actors Kip Chapman and Rachel Forman to bring the fractured Auckland theatre community together, and were a cheeky celebration of what happened on and off stage during the year.
Now known as the Auckland Theatre Awards, the event — like the local industry — has matured. They’re keeping the irreverent awards, but also introducing a more serious section designed to give true excellence in the theatre its just rewards. A secret panel of six judges has been on the case all year, and will honour up to 10 people for outstanding achievement. There are no categories, no nominations and no runners-up.
To date the closest they’ve come to this has been the Lifetime Achievement Award: actor Elizabeth McRae still has the trophy she won in 2009, a replica of the Sky Tower cut from corrugated cardboard. “The gold paint has come off a bit,” she says. It’s too crumpled now to sit on the mantelpiece but she feels it does symbolise something too precious to turf in the rubbish.
“It’s an amazing thrill,” says Gillian Sutton, a theatre teacher, administrator and patron who is the most recent member of the Lifetime Achievement club. Other winners are actor/director Raymond Hawthorne, playwright Roger Hall and actor/theatre manager Paul Minifie. Sutton says it’s a joy to see the theatre in Auckland develop into such a prolific industry, and praises especially the energy of underground incubator the Basement and the impact of the new Q Theatre.
Who will the judges pick for those 10 awards this year? It’s been another rich theatrical year — they’ve got their work cut out.
Auckland Theatre Awards, December 1, Wintergarden at The Civic.
STOP PRESS: 2014 Auckland Theatre Awards winners announced.
1. Achieving excellence across all aspects of this ambitious production: Shane Bosher and the creative team behind Angels In America – Silo Theatre
2. Achieving excellence with it’s original concept and execution: 360: A Theatre of Recollections – Theatre Stampede and Nightsong Productions
3. Achieving excellence in a wide range of performances: Stephen Lovatt – Actor
4. Achieving excellence in lighting design: Jane Hakaraia – various projects
5. Achieving excellence in all aspects of producing their debut production Daffodils: Bullet Heart Club – emerging Theatre Company
6. Achieving excellence in fostering new and emerging artists in Auckland City: The Basement Theatre
7. Achieving excellence in physical performance: Trygve Wakenshaw various productions
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Linda Cartwright – actor and vocal coach
Lavinia Uhila – Producer and Actor
Jess Sayer – Actor and Playwright
Amanaki Prescott – Dancer, Actor and Playwright
People’s Choice Awards
Mangere Arts Centre Award for Best Ensemble… The cast of Luncheon
The Auckland Actors Award for Best Death… The cast of Lies
The Elephant Publicity Award for Best Poster… A Boy Wonder
The Gail Cowan Award for Best Viral Marketing Campaign… Sin
The TAPAC Award for Best Entrance… Fasitua Amosa, Black Faggot
The Actor’s Equity Award for Best Technical F*#k up…Cookiegate – Jesus Christ Superstar
The Playmarket Award for Best line in a Kiwi Play… “He’s my type. Type 1 diabeties”. Tongan Morris Men
The Johnson & Laird Management Award for Best Actress/Actor Playing a Character with a Disability/Medical Condition of the Year… Tom Sainsbury – The Fly
The APRA Award for Best Music… Everything Thomas Press did
The Kathryn Rawlings and Associates Award for Fastest Pack in / Pack Out… the cast of Famous Flora
The South Pacific Pictures Award for Best Comeback… John Tui in The Motherfucker with the Hat
The Actors Program Award for Best Nudity… Geordie Holibar, Wine Lips
The Sharu Loves Hats Award for Best Pash… Beulah Koale and Lauren Gibson, Sons