Adult Performance Awards 2023

Ken Allan Dist 1
We start off with my nominations for the Adult Individual Awards –

There are three nominations in this category:

Harry Hudson - 'Joe Casey' - Our House - Blyth MTC
For one so young, this person gave a great performance full of emotion and formidable singing. It is an extremely difficult and physically demanding part to play, and it was played extremely well. Keep your eyes on this one….

Rachel Hardy - 'Shelby' - Steel Magnolias - Tynemouth Priory TC
A captivating performance and an impeccable southern accent that did not slip at any time during the play. She commanded the stage whenever she was on it and demonstrated the optimism, pragmatism and resignation of a privileged southern princess who had everything but her health.

Shaunagh Burge - 'Rita O'Grady' - Made in Dagenham - Whitley Bay OS
This person gave a highly-charged, emotional portrayal of their character and blew their audience away with their singing voice. Someone who has been on the adults horizon now for a few years, but never just quite got there.


And the Winner is…..


She led the Dagenham Girls with a great performance which was full of emotion and power. An almost perfect Rita. Congratulations Shaunagh and about time !


The next Category is my Best Supporting Role Winner

This is a pivotal role. She comments and observes from a parental perspective and then, the whole play hangs on her final tragic and emotional monologue. As this actor delivered it, and the tears ran down my cheeks, the auditorium was so quiet all I could hear was my heart breaking! A sublime piece of acting. My Winner is Fiona Jones - 'M’Lynn' in Steel Magnolias for Tynemouth Priory TC


Next is the Best Musical for my district

There are three nominees in this category

Beaconsfield OS - Elf the Musical
Under the circumstances we all found ourselves in through Covid, I’m sure this society made the correct decision to ‘change horses’ and switch to a show full of the goodwill factor and just the vehicle they, and their audiences deserved to herald their stage comeback.This team collectively brought a very delightful show to the stage.

Blyth MTC - Our House
This large ensemble delivered both strong characterisations and lusty vocals throughout, richly deserving the standing ovation given at the final curtain. It certainly was a ‘house of fun’, expertly directed and choreographed with the musicality, colour and technical prowess on display that deserves extremely high praise

Whitley Bay OS - Made in Dagenham
The real strength in this performance was the ensemble with their slick choreography and phenomenal vocals. This is a cast that cares about the story, loves working together and can put on a great show.


And the Winner is…

This is a society which works superbly well as a team, and its teamwork tipped the scales in its favour. Many congratulations to Jackie and her Team. My Winner is Blyth MTC for ‘Our House’

My final three categories starting with

My Best District Concert
This was just what it said ‘on the tin’; a toe-tapping celebration of the kind of summery concert we can all identify with giving the urge to join in at every opportunity. It was colourful, beautifully sung, well moved and performed with enthusiasm, obvious hard work and dedication from the whole team, both on-stage and off. My winner is Walkerville MTC - A Summer Showcase

My Best District Drama
This is the very embodiment of an ensemble piece, and what a fantastic ensemble with strength and depth of performance in each one. A highly technical and emotional play which had its audience in tears with both sadness and comedy in droves, fully deserving of the standing ovation given after the final curtain. The Winner is Tynemouth Priory Theatre Club - Steel Magnolias

Finally My Best District Pantomime
This extremely talented group has a lot of experience of how to give its audiences an incredible experience, which was borne out by the children of all ages this side of the proscenium.  We were treated to a spectacular full of colour, sparkle, first class music, fabulous costumes, fun, comedy, cracking choreography, circus skills and effects. Tip-top Panto entertainment. My Winner is Whitley Bay Panto Society - Goldilocks and the Three Bears


Gordon Richardson Dist 2
Taking on the role halfway through the year these awards are a combination of mine and my predecessor, Forster Johnson, awards.

We start off with our nominations for the Adult Individual Awards –

There are three nominations in this category:

Erin Boyle - Bonnie Parker - Bonnie & Clyde - Jarrow MTC
Erin gave an astounding performance as the besotted partner of Clyde with acting and vocals that were amazing holding the characterisation throughout to the bitter end.

Luke McGarry – Clyde – Bonnie & Clyde – Jarrow MTC
Luke showed his acting prowess to the extremes in this tour-de-force characterisation of the bank robber Clyde Barrows along with fine vocals.

Peter Brack - Mr Mushnik - Little Shop of Horrors – Caprians
Peter is one of the finest character actors in the North and this role he showed it with a fine interpretation of the Skid Row flower shop exploiting his employee’s good fortune.


And the Winner is…..


This person goes from strength to strength and no more so than in this role that harnessed their skills perfectly. The winner is Luke McGarry as ‘Clyde’ in Jarrow MTC’s Bonnie and Clyde.


The next Category is my Best Supporting Role Winner

Although a small role this person made it her own as the mother of one of the lead characters. The emotion she displayed was palpable as she saw her daughter go off the rails. The winner is Jillaine Reay-Hindson as 'Emma Parker' - Bonnie & Clyde - Jarrow MTC


Next is the Best Musical for my district

There is only one nominee in this category

From the opening notes of the prologue to the last notes of the Finale this production shone like a beacon with its eclectic mix of music styles, fully formed characters with superb singing and acting. My winner is Jarrow MTC - Bonnie & Clyde

My final two categories starting with

My Best District Drama
Without doubt the finest drama I have seen this year (or indeed for many a long year) the tale of a young Jewish girl on a journey both literally and psychologically from oncoming Nazi Germany to wartime and post war England. My Winner is (a well deserved) Westovians - KinderTransport


Finally My Best District Pantomime
The show had everything you want from a pantomime. It was dynamic and bright, with sets, costumes, and fine lighting to match. The choreography was excellently devised and interpreted likewise by the senior and junior dance team alike who were well supported by the boundless energy from principals to ensemble alike. My Winner is Westovians - Sleeping Beauty


Michelle Coulson Dist 3
We start off with my nominations for the Adult Individual Awards –

There are three nominations in this category:

Andrew Howe - 'Mr Poppy' - Nativity the Musical - South Moor
This actor was born to play this role, his humour, charm and charisma were evident throughout the performance. Mr Poppy stole the show.

Anthony Smith - 'Frollo' - Hunchback of Notre Dame - Durham MTC
This actor excelled in the portrayal of the complex, flawed and tormented Frollo.

Connor Richards - 'Tevye' Fiddler on the Roof - Birtley Community Theatre
This actor delivered a strong and engaging performance delivering the comedy and drama in equal proportions and held their audiences attention and focus throughout


And the Winner is…..


This performance was immaculate and powerful providing chilling highlights in the show. Congratulation – My Winner is Anthony Smith - 'Frollo' - Hunchback of Notre Dame - Durham MTC


The next Category is my Best Supporting Role Winner

The end of Act I showstopper by this actor was uninhibited with outstanding vocals which left the audience stunned. A Fabulous performance – Congratulations my winner is Stephanie Peacock - 'Alice Beineke' - Addams Family - IYFTS


Next is the Best Musical for my district

There are three nominees in this category

Durham MTC - Hunchback of Notre Dame
A flawless production with one of the strongest ensemble I have witnessed together with superb principals, outstanding singing and performances.

Newcastle MTC – Grease
Uplifting, energetic, fun, slick and joyous - Just some of the words I used to describe this performance. From the opening number the standard was set high, with strong choreography and vocal performances throughout.

Youth Connection Theatre Company – Godspell
This production had some inspired direction, a cast that embraced physical theatre, had great work as a company and beautiful vocal performances by principal and ensemble.


And the Winner is…

A theatrical and vocal tour-de-force with no weak links, absolutely first class. Congratulations – My winner is Durham MTC - Hunchback of Notre Dame

My final two categories starting with

My Best District Concert
A varied programme delivered with enthusiasm and passion that was palpable, 17 talented performers singing songs from roles they’d never play. There was plenty to keep the audience entertained and wanting more at the end. My winner is Chester-le-Street TG - Miscast - A Cabaret


Finally My Best District Drama
This play was fast paced and included physical comedy, long monologues which were well delivered by a cast of three whose performances were tight. A hilarious well-rehearsed and performed production. My Winner is Washington Theatre Group - Inspector Drake and the Black Widow


Helen Abraham Dist 4
We start off with my nominations for the Adult Individual Awards –

There are three nominations in this category:

Cara Barella - Elle Woods - Legally Blonde - Sunderland TCo
A bright, charismatic and enthusiastic performance from the second they entered the stage.

Joe Coulson - Smee - Peter Pan - Dryburn TW
Incredible performance from one of the most talented and versatile individuals I know, engaging all in the audience from the second they came on stage, crystal clear and excelling in their craft.

Wendy Hindmarsh - Carabose - Sleeping Beauty – Ferryhill
A strong fabulous performance which captivated the audience in their role as the pantomime baddie which they played superbly.


And the Winner is…..


I’ve seen this individual in many roles over the years but none that wowed me as much as they did in this production where they really gave it their all. My Winner is Cara Barella - Elle Woods - Legally Blonde - Sunderland TCo


The next Category is my Best Supporting Role Winner

This performance wowed me from the start to the finish and the only note I wrote about it in my book was the word amazing. I’m still not even over it, this was a beautiful rendition of one of my favourite songs from Phantom of the Opera in an unfamiliar gender presentation of Wishing you were somehow here Again. My Winner is Kristan Bailey - roles I'll never play - Sunderland TCo


Next is the Best Musical for my district

There are three nominees in this category

CLS Theatre Group - Betty Blue Eyes
This was a new show to me, set in WW2, very patriotic and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

Spennymoor S&S - Addams Family
A superb, well thought out production, with attention to detail and a fabulous evening entertainment.

Sunderland TCo - Legally Blonde
I’ll be honest I didn’t want to like this production, it’s not a favourite of mine but this production was simply off the sale and absolutely worthy of the recognition it deserved.


And the Winner is…

If I had time I’d have come again.  An amazing production with a buzz from the second you walked in the door, and most importantly a cast clearly having an absolute blast with so much fun radiating from the stage. My Winner is Spennymoor S&S - Addams Family

My final three categories starting with

My Best District Concert
A beautiful concert with the most gorgeous arrangements, in a fabulous setting with spectacular organ participation and a lovely night’s entertainment. My winner is St Andrews OS (Roker) - Carol Concert

My Best District Drama
An excellent take on a classic play with attention to detail, great timing and a lovely night’s entertainment. The Winner is Bishop Auckland TS - Bouncers and Shakers

Finally My Best District Pantomime
What a pantomime, with superb performances, bright songs, a fabulous script, digital backdrops and incredibly engaging for the audience who loved it. My Winner is Dryburn TW - Peter Pan


Michael Avery Dist 5
We start off with my nominations for the Adult Individual Awards –

There are three nominations in this category:

Ellen Armstrong - 'Mrs Lovett' - Sweeney Todd -Hexham Amateur Stage Society
She plays a lady done down by the world until she crosses paths with Sweeney but Ellen Armstrong is something of a force of nature in the part of changeable Mrs Lovett (one minute wicked, the next making you chuckle guiltily), as she longs for better times away from the big, wicked city.

James Forster  - 'Lola/Simon' - Kinky Boots - Starlight Theatre Productions
James inhabited the very skin of Lola (loud and flash) and her adult alter ego, Simon (sad and insecure).  They mastered the stage, giving a rounded and very impressive performance as the warm heart of the show.

Jonathan Worthy - 'Tevye' - Fiddler on the Roof - West End OS
From scene one, I was won over by Jonathan’s interpretation of Tevye.  He brought the character vividly to life, frustrated by the conflict between his religion and the modern world, coping lovingly with his devoted but strong wife and, particularly, those three older daughters.


And the Winner is…..


In an excellent production, the lingering memory I came away with was that of her mesmerising performance as Mrs Lovett. My Winner is Ellen Armstrong - 'Mrs Lovett' - Sweeney Todd - Hexham Amateur Stage Society


The next Category is my Best Supporting Role Winner

Jonathan Worthy, as Tevye, needed a strong foil which was provided by Carol, playing his wife, Golde.  Like his, her character struggles with the conflict between tradition and the modern world and not many dry eyes remained in the theatre after their duet of Do You Love me, performed touchingly to loud applause. My Winner is Carol Emerson - 'Golde' - Fiddler on the Roof - West End OS


Next is the Best Musical for my district

There are three nominees in this category

Fiddler on the Roof - West End OS
Having seen Fiddler so often before, it took a charismatic leading player to win me over, which he did from the very start.  This production was something of a triumph, managing to make all those well-known songs seem new again, together with the touching interactions between a group of familiar and well-loved characters.

Starlight Theatre Productions - Kinky Boots
A difficult show to pull off and effectively exhibit both of the worlds inhabited by Lola/Simon in a manner which can win over the hearts and minds of an audience so completely.  Producer, Kim Wilde, and her impressive cast did exactly that. 

Sweeney Todd - Hexham Amateur Stage Society
I, personally, find Sweeney Todd a difficult show to love but that does not take anything away from the challenge it offers any amateur music company which chooses to produce it.  Director Jude Law moulded her large company and impressive principals into an absorbingly dark production, deserving of high praise.


And the Winner is…

For bringing new life to a classic show and, in particular, for the performance of their leading man, the award goes to West End for Fiddler on the Roof - West End OS

My final three categories starting with

My Best District Concert
It was good to see a concert again from Hexham as my reports on their productions invariably end with a sentence to say how much I enjoy their chorus singing together in the finale!  This was no exception, a concert reflecting the choicest selections from 19 of the shows they have produced over the past 90 years. My winner is Hexham Amateur Stage Society - The Sound of Musicals

My Best District Drama
Ovingham is the epitome of a local amateur drama group and, in something of a departure for them, this production featuring many familiar faces, all on top form, in a comedy drama performed in the presence of the writer, Ashley Burgoyne.  Directed by Lorraine White, it told the tale of two English villages vying with each other to win the coveted “Village Games” trophy with all the amusing skulduggery that entailed.  The Winner is Ovingham Drama Group - The Village Hall

Finally My Best District Pantomime
It’s been a pleasure to return to pantoland this year and, in particular a new production, written in-house by “Dame” Malcolm Alderson, from Woodlands who always present a colourful, entertaining, traditional pantomime.  It is amazing what can be achieved with 11 principals, 3 chorus members and a very young but very impressive dance troupe. My Winner is Woodland Theatrical Society - Aladdin


Richard Hamilton-Leighton Dist 6
Having taken over as Regional Rep in June of this year, I read out my predecessor’s nominations and winner. We start off with the nominations for the Adult Individual Awards –

There are three nominations in this category:

Katie Bowie - 'Nell Gwynn' - Nell Gwynn - Allerton Players
Katie attacked this role with the grit and passion needed, with an accent never faltering we saw Nell’s transformation in front of our eyes. Her interaction with all the other cast members was a delight and it was great to see a softer and vulnerable side to her in Act two

Leighton Taylor-Jones - 'Lord Farquard' - Shrek - Darlington Operatic Society
Not only was his comic timing perfect, but the facial reactions were also a delight, and he had the audience in the palm of his hand.

Lizzy Heward - 'Audrey' - Little Shop of Horrors - Teesdale Operatic Society
From her 1st entrance she was captivating, playing the role of Audrey with such ease and demonstrating the naivety and frailty of the character. Her vocals were perfect, and she had such a lovely tone.


And the Winner is…..


Despite the characters size, this actor gave us a huge performance with sensational comic timing and facial expressions. A performance worthy of the royal title, The award winner is Leighton Taylor-Jones - 'Lord Farquard' - Shrek - Darlington Operatic Society


The next Category is my Best Supporting Role Winner

In a truly professional performance, this actress managed to disguise her characters deep underlying emotional issues with an over the top exceptional comic showing. For a simply mind-blowing showing The Winner is Jodie Martin - 'Sylvia' - Stepping Out - Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society


Next is the Best Musical for my district

There are three nominees in this category

Darlington Operatic Society – Shrek
Directing this mammoth show would be enough for most people with over 40 in the cast but every scene was slick, every change practiced to perfection and the dance routines  were outstanding with the whole cast in perfect sync with each other.

Northallerton Musical Theatre Company - Calendar Girls
The themes in the story were handled with great care and sensitivity yet the director wasn’t afraid to let rip with the comedy as well giving the audience Craughter (to experience crying and laughter at the same time) moments throughout the whole production.

Teesdale Operatic Society - School Of Rock
There were so many exceptional performances from this cast but the thing that brought it all together was the togetherness of the group. For the stage to be so full everyone had to keep in character throughout and Scott and Dawn worked their usual magic to make sure that the performances matched the musical quality.


And the Winner is…

A show capturing every possible emotion from laughter to tears. With wonderful performances from every member of the cast showing true Yorkshire grit, The award goes to Northallerton Musical Theatre Company - Calendar Girls

My final three categories starting with

My Best District Concert
For a wonderful celebration of Musical Theatre Hits in a truly original format, packing the stage with mixtures of ages but bucketloads of talent. The award winner is Teesdale Operatic Society - A West End Walk

My Best District Drama
Wonderfully cast, wonderfully directed and wonderfully staged. For a historical and often wordy play, this Society had us glued to the stage throughout. The Winner is Swive - Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society

Finally My Best District Pantomime
Always delivering comedy and an action packed show, this Society yet again upped the level of talent in amateur pantomimes. For a show you wish was never "behind you” The Winner is Northallerton Amateur Variety Company – Aladdin


Daniel Matuszak Dist 8
We start off with my nominations for the Adult Individual Awards –

There are three nominations in this category:

Elizabeth Marshall - 'Morticia Addams' - Addams Family - Hartlepool Stage Society
A standout performance for me by Elizabeth, who was the frighteningly beautiful Morticia Addams. From opening to end, she commanded that stage. Her vocals and dancing were superb. How she did not trip over that dress I will never know!

Kelvin Witherspoon-Sudron - 'Holmes' (and others) - Hound of the Baskervilles - Middlesbrough Little Theatre
Kelvin Witherspoon-Sudron was the upper class sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, the simple minded Mr and Mrs Stapleton, Mr and Mrs Barrymore and of course,  Yokel number 3. Each and every part was portrayed differently and definitely kept the audience on their toes thinking, who will he be next? His acting skills were fantastic and had the audience wanting more.

Sophie Mitchell - 'Mary' - Be My Baby - Billingham Players
Sophie’s characterisation of Mary was fantastic. She had such a hard character to play as we saw the full storyline with her from arriving to leaving after she has given birth and her child has been taken away. Not once did she faulter in her delivery and kept us, the audience engaged in what she was feeling.


And the Winner is…..


For their amazing performance, interaction with the other characters and overall believability in their role, the award goes to Sophie Mitchell for her portrayal as Mary in Be My Baby.


The next Category is my Best Supporting Role Winner

Playing the part of the Odd Job Person for the Council, this person was tasked of bringing the character of Bernie to life. Not the smartest tool in the box, possibly not even in the box, their characterisation of her really did remind me of something out of Dinnerladies. The award goes to Lisa Tomlinson – Cowie for Bernie in I Thought I Heard A Rustling by Middlesbrough Little Theatre Limited.


Next is the Best Musical for my district

There are three nominees in this category

Hartlepool Stage Society - Addams Family
This was my first visit to see Hartlepool Stage Society perform at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre. I had heard good things previously about their shows from friends of mine, so I was really looking forward to seeing their portrayal of ‘The Addams Family Musical’. I was not disappointed. Every single person on stage had their own characters which they portrayed excellently and stayed in throughout.

North Ormesby Minstrels - Guys & Dolls
Guys and Dolls, for me, is one of my favourites. This production by the North Ormesby Minstrels was a bright and lively show from start to finish with its many tuneful melodies played in front of what seemed to me a very appreciative audience. The Society brought the Damon Runyan story of New York’s gambling fraternity to life, providing a lot of laughter and good humour as well as a lot of accomplished acting, singing and dancing.

Tees Valley G&S - The Mikado
Tees Valley Gilbert and Sullivan society last year, celebrated its 50th anniversary year with a superb, innovative and up to date production of ‘The Mikado’ which is arguably Gilbert & Sullivan’s most popular operetta. The audiences who were lucky enough to see this production will I’m sure agree with me, had a great night at the Theatre.


And the Winner is…

From the iconic opening of the finger clicks to the moving finale, this show had it all. Decorative sets, stunning moving backdrops, creative costumes and a man hopelessly in love with the moon! What more could you want in a show!? The award goes to Hartlepool Stage Society for their production of The Addams Family Musical.

My final two categories starting with

My Best District Drama
This play had it all. Witty one liners, great characters, great characterisations and a funny storyline. Each actor and actress gave outstanding performances on stage and the direction was well done throughout.  The award goes to Middlesbrough Little Theatre Limited and their production of The Ladykillers.


Finally My Best District Pantomime
Admittedly, this panto is one I had never seen before so I was really excited to see what it was all about (as if the title didn’t give it away enough!) The show was brilliant. There was not a weak link in the chain at all and this was echoed by the sounds of laughter and applause from the audiences. The award goes to North Ormesby Minstrels for Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.


Sue Wood Dist 9
Taking over as Regional Representative of district 9 in June the following awards are nominations and winners of Ken Allan who covered the district during an absence of rep. We start off with the nominations for the Adult Individual Awards –

There are three nominations in this category:

Andy Knight - 'Rab' - Sunshine on Leith - Berwick OS
This actor had to navigate his way through all of the emotional and comedic traits of this character with great success. He was every bit the caring, proud, loving husband and father. Well done.

Jonathan Goodman - 'Curly' - Oklahoma - Alnwick SMS
A very comfortable and accomplished portrayal of this well-known character. His singing voice was superb, as was his partnership with Laurie.

Morgan Flannigan - 'Davy - Sunshine on Leith - Berwick OS
This young man played his character superbly well and his collaboration with his family, his army mate Ally and his love partner Yvonne was very special. He had great stage presence and sang his songs with ease and with great emotion.


And the Winner is…..


Surely one for the future. Congratulations on a tremendous performance. The winner is Morgan Flannigan - 'Davy - Sunshine on Leith - Berwick OS


The next Category is my Best Supporting Role Winner

This actor’s cold and menacingly calm performance was calculated, strong and scary. His rendition of ‘Lonely Room’ was spine tingling and extremely emotional. Congratulations. The Winner is Mark Stenton - 'Jud Fry' - Oklahoma - Alnwick SMS


Next is the Best Musical for my district

There are two nominees in this category

Alnwick SMS – Oklahoma
The Director’s fresh look at this well-loved classic was a triumph. The whole Team created a toe-tapping, beautifully choreographed and excellently sung production, with superb lighting, sound and set.

Berwick OS - Sunshine on Leith
This was a bright and breezy journey through all aspects of love, family life and social values. The strong ensemble succeeded with their collective and individual performances, enhanced by the well-known music of the Proclaimers.


And the Winner is…

There was not a weak link and the whole audience just wanted to join in. A tremendous piece of musical theatre. The Winner is Alnwick SMS – Oklahoma

My final two categories starting with

My Best District Drama
This extremely talented cast of six were excellent and their strong characterisations and accents were equally so. The ‘off light’ acting was superb and was consistent all the way through the piece, as was the use of very apt costumes and props. A superb play very well directed, performed and beautifully lit in such a small venue. The Winner is Portable Theatre Co. - Belles - The Reunion

Finally My Best District Pantomime
The packed audience were all treated to a superb traditional family pantomime with great live music, excellent direction and choreography, spectacular sets and costumes with colour, sparkle and pizazz. The ensemble was switched on from the beginning and maintained their characterisations until the final curtain. Congratulations to the whole team. The Winner is Spittal VG – Cinderella



Peter Oliver  Regional Councillor Awards:

There are six nominees for my Councillors Adult Concert Award

Felling Stage Soc - Centenary Concert
A great combination of music celebrating Felling’s Stage Societies centenary delivered by current and past members.

Chester-Le-Street TG – Miscast
A concert of songs like you have never heard before spectacular evening of songs with a difference. 

Sunderland Theatre co - Roles I'd Never Play
The roles I’d never play- Songs delivered by members as you have never seen before regardless of gender.

Hexham Amateur Stage Society  - The Sound of Musicals
Celebrating the society’s 90th anniversary with a collection of songs from show their have performed over the years.

Teesdale OS - A West End Walk
The society took its audience on a walk around the glittering West End delivering songs form some of the best-known musicals.

Berwick OS - It's Showtime
Celebrating their centenary concert of shows of songs performed over their long history. 


And the overall Winner is…


Councillors Award for best overall Concert in the Region
You can understand why this society is still going after 100 years, what a night of entertainment delivered by some of the most talented performers in the North, congratulation the award for the Councillors overall best concert for 2022/23 goes to Felling Stage Society.


There are eight nominees for my Councillors Adult Pantomime Performance Award

Whitley Bay Pantomime Society - Goldilocks & 3 Bears
What a production of colour and audience participation, great cast and a standout Dame

Jarrow MTC - Dick Whittington
Bringing traditional pantomimes to life this was a first-class production with plenty of laughs and banter delivered in the best possible taste.

Dryburn TW - Peter Pan
Dryburn Theatrical Workshop always delivers a first-class pantomime equally to those performed professionally and Peter Pan was no different with a host of colourful characters and eye-catching scenery.

Spennymoor S&S - Robinson Crusoe
Under a new director Spennymoor Stage and Song delivered a first-class production of the classic pantomime Robinson Crusoe, great delivery having the audience booing in all the right places

Woodlands TS – Aladdin
What a great pantomime which had the audience in stiches, stand out performances from the lead characters especially the Genie and Widow Twanky who stole the show.

Northallerton AVS – Aladdin
What a show I laughed from start to finish and I have never seen as much water used during a production, great cast especially the talented and ever funny Wishee Washee and Widow Twankey

North Ormesby Minstrels - Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves
A great production delivered by an enthusiastic cast who delivered all the best ingredients of a traditional pantomime

Spittal VG – Cinderella
Celebrating 60 years of entertaining Spittal Variety Group dazzled the audience with an outstanding production of Cinderella


And the Overall Winner is….


Councillors award for best Regional Pantomime
Pantomimes are so important in the theatre world they bring in the audiences and give the youth the first experience of live theatre. The winner this year set the bar high with its beautiful set, outstanding costumes and delivered a first-class production which suited both young and mature audiences. The winner of the Councillors cup goes to Spittal Variety Group for their production of Cinderella


There are eight nominees for my Councillors Adult Drama Performance Award

Tynemouth Priory Theatre - Hobson Choice
A great period drama, which was first produced by Tynemouth Priory Theatre some 50 years previous. Great production with excellent acting and staging

Westovians - Kinder Transport
A first class production which tells the story of a one particular Jewish child who was part of the kindertransport scheme when some 10,000 children were sent to Britain from Germany during the war. An excellent production.

Dryburn TW - Murder on the Nile
One of Agatha Christies classics, but who killed who in this mystery. Great production by Dryburn Theatrical Workshop.

IYFTS - Somewhere over the Rainbow
This unique play written tells the story of a family dealing with everyday issues and their consequences, great performances enabling the cast to stretch their skills.

Ovingham Drama Group - Village Hall
This play gave us a brief glance into the goings on between the parish committee, a new amateur drama group coupled with a little bit of sleuthing. Congratulations to Ovingham Drama Group for the village Hall

Richmond ADS - Stepping Out
What a great performance for the cast of Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society in this hilarious production of Stepping Out. Great cast who put their hearts and souls into their characters to deliver a superb well-polished production.

Nunthorpe Players - House Guest
A play with a twist, great performance from cast and a very authentic set, loved the twist to this paly and well presented.

Portable TC – Belles, the Reunion
This was a well-directed and presented production, the six ladies delivered their characters to provision, each with their own individual character and style. A confident and polished performance from the who cast.



And the Overall Winner is….


Councillors Award for Best Regional Drama
This play took us on a journey from WWII when over 10,000 Jewish children from various countries were placed in British foster homes. Helga and Werner Schlesinger were parents faced with the difficult choice of keeping their beloved daughter Eva in Germany with them, or letting her become one of the Kindertransport children, a fantastic portrayal of a true-life story that depicts the agony of separating a child from her parents and wrestles with the consequences of that choice, the councillor award goes to Westovians for KinderTransport.


There are eight nominees for my Councillors Individual Adult Performance Award

Steven Linsdell-Bell - Goldilocks & 3 Bears – WBPS
When it comes to playing an iconic character there is no other than to have the perfect Dame. My nominee of District one award goes to a man that certainly knows how to interact with its audiences and brings a smile to both young and the more mature audiences. My nomination goes to Steven Linsdell -Bell for his role of Sadie Spangle in the pantomime Goldilocks and the Three Bears, for Whitley Bay Pantomime Society.

Luke McGarry - Bonnie & Clyde – Jarrow
My Nominee of District Two award certainly has proven his ability and skills delivering a first-class performance. Taking the lead in this production this man certainly delivered a believable account of this notorious criminal. My nomination goes to Luke McGarey for his role of Clyde in the musical Bonnie and Clyde for Jarrow Musical Theatre Company.

Melanie King - Sister Act – CAOS
Playing the role of a spirited night club singer and making new friends in a convent with a bunch of nuns is not your everyday experience especially whilst hiding from your killer boyfriend. Great interpretation from my nominee of District three Melanie King in her role of Delores Van Cartier in CAOS Musical Theatre Company’s Sister Act

Cara Barella - Legally Blonde – Sunderland TCo
I have seen this production many times both live in the theatre and on tv having two daughters, this romantic story follows the dreams and heartaches of Elle Woods as she pursues the love of her life, delivering an outstanding performance of Elle this talented actor delivered a first class interpretation of character both in her acting ability and vocal numbers. My nominee for District 4 goes to Carla Barella for her role of Elle Woods in Sunderland Theatre Company’s production of Legally Blonde.

Jonny Larman - Grease – NMTC
I think that every man of my age grew up wanting to be this character, I remember queuing up to see the film then re-joining the queue again to see it for a second time. The actor who played this iconic role certainly delivered the character to perfection book in his stage presence and vocally. My nominee for District 5 goes to Jonny Larman for his role of Danny in Newcastle Musical Theatre Company - Grease

Jake Mason - Me and My Girl - Northallerton MTC
This young man has certainly developed positively over the last few years from playing the donkey in Shrek to playing the lead role in Me and My Girl for Northallerton Musical Theatre Company’s, me and My Girl, great stage presence and excellent choreography in the iconic role of Bill Snibson my nominee for District 6 is Jake Mason.

Helen Smurthwaite - Sister Act - Teesside MTC
When it comes to delivering a performance as large as this iconic character you need to be able to fill the shoes with a performer that can deliver a the high powerful musical numbers and have the stage presence to match the character this young actor has this in abundance and she certainly took the stage by storm. My nominee for District 8 is Helen Smurthwaite for her role as Deloris Van Cartier in Teesside Musical Theatre Company’s Sister Act 

Juliette Bell - Oklahoma - Alnwick SMS
Delivering a stand out performance in one the most classic musicals of all times this performer delivered a wonderful performance, excellent stage presence and a voice to melt your heart and excellent stage presence. My nominee for District 9 goes to Juliette Bell for her role as Laurey in Alnwick Stage Musical Society- Oklahoma


And the overall Winner is….

Councillor Award for Best Adult Individual 

What a difficult choice, all nominees stood out in the delivery of their characters and all worthy of the councillor’s award for best individual, but the overall winner this year goes to Cara Barella for her role as Elle Woods in Sunderland Theatre Company’s Legally Blonde


We now move onto my Councillors Best Individual in a Supporting Role award

There are eight nominees in this category

Glen Kingston - Hobsons Choice - Tynemouth Priory
This man certainly had a great awareness around his character, I loved how he show the vulnerability and transformation as his confidence grew – My nomination for district 1 for the best individual in a supporting role is Glen Kingston for his role of Willie Mossop in Tynemouth Priory Theatre’s play Hobson’s Choice

Jillaine Reay-Hindson  - Bonnie & Clyde - Jarrow MTC
This actor certainly knows how to use the stage and her characterisation to the full impact for the audience, and whatever show that I have had the opportunity to see with her performing she has always made a visual impression no more so in Bonnie and Clyde were she demonstrated her emotions to great effect.   My nominee for district 2 for the best individual in a supporting role is Jillaine Hindson-Reay for her role as  Emma Parker in Jarrow Musical Theatre Company’s - Bonnie and Clyde.

Karen Scott - Betty Blue Eyes – CLSTG
I loved this character in this musical and the actor certainly pulled out all the strings to deliver it with great characterisation to the delight of the audience – My nominee for district 3 for the best individual in a supporting role is Karen Scott for her role as Mother Dear in Chester le Street Theatre Group’s Betty Blue Eyes.

Wendy Hindmarsh - Addams Family - Spennymoor S&S
I love the character in this musical and we share the love of the colour yellow, with a larger-than-life character and a pair of lungs that  can belt out any tune especially once taking a tipple of the sacred chalice – my nominee for district 4 for the best individual in a supporting role is Wendy Hindmarch for her role as Alice Beineke in Spennymoor’s stage and Songs production of The Adams Family

Zach Hardy - Fiddler on the Roof – WEOS
One of my all-time favourite musicals this young actor delivered a standout performance in his role, great stage presence and the making of a principal performer. My nominee for district 5 for the best individual in a supporting role is - Zach Hardy for his role as Fyedka in West End Operatic Society’s Fiddler on the Roof

Leighton Taylor-Jones - Shrek - Darlington OS
This character actor had me laughing from the minute he stepped onto the stage, well I’m not sure if you could call it stepping, his character was brilliant, and his facial expressions and delivery was excellent. My nominee for district 6 for the best individual in a supporting role is Leighton Taylor Jones for his role as Lord Farquaad in Darlington Operatic Society’s Shrek

Penny Collier - Sister Act - Teesside MTC
Playing the innocent postulant nun, this actor showed great characterisation delivering the two sides to her character, from the innocent naive young person to finally having the courage and determination to go out into the big world thanks to her friend and the pair of boots. My nominee for district 8 for the best individual in a supporting role is Penny Collier for her role as Sister Mary Robert in Teesside Musical Theatre Company - Sister Act

Morgan Flannigan - Sunshine on Leith - Berwick OS
This young actor certainly shines when he is on stage, he has the natural ability to adapt to any character he is cast into, excellent dancing and acting skills and the audience certainly appreciate his ability and stage presence. My nominee for district 9 for the best individual in a supporting role is Morgan Flannigan for his role as Davy in Berwick Operatic Societies Sunshine on Leith


And the Overall Winner of  Best Actor in a Supporting Role is….


The award for the best individual in a supporting role goes to a very talent actor who has the creativity and acting ability to take their character to the next level. The award for the best individual in a supporting role goes to Jillaine Reay-Hindson


We move onto the Councillors Award for best overall Adult Production

There are eight nominees in this category

Blyth MTC - Our House
Blyth Musical Theatre Company certainly know how to pulled out all the stops, when it comes to producing their musicals and they certainly did this in abundance for their production of Our House, a confident performance from the whole cast with each character adding to the story line and delivering a first-class production.

Jarrow MTC - Bonnie and Clyde
Jarrow Musical Theatre Company never shy away when it comes to choosing their productions, adding another premier to the belt their production of Bonnie and Clyde certainly brought the audience to their feet in a first-class production delivered by a talented cast.

Durham MTC - Hunchback of Notre Dame
Durham Musical Theatre Company brought to the stage a premiere for NODA North with the classic tale by Victor Hugo in their production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and what a lavish production was delivered, the set was outstanding, and the large cast took us on a journey to France with some excellent choreography and vocal numbers which brought the house to a standstill.

Sunderland Theatre co - Legally Blonde
An overwhelming production full of wonderful characters in this fun and entertaining chick flick production which were beautifully delivered, this talented cast certainly know how to work together and as a consequence delivered a standout performance from start to finish the award goes to Sunderland Theatre Company for Legally Blonde

Newcastle MTC – Grease
When it comes to iconic productions this musical must be at the top of the list, with memorable characters and iconic songs, this young talented cast took us back to school with their production of Grease well done to Newcastle Theatre Company.

Darlington OS – Shrek
This production from the opening act it was clearly evident that the audience was in for an evening of pure entertainment, with an outstanding set, fantastic costumes and a talented cast, Darlington Operatic Society delivered a first class production of Shrek the musical

Teesside MTC - Sister Act
When it comes to a musical that draws in the audience this production has its audience dancing in their seats. Delivering a great musical score delivered by a fantastic line up of principals and chorus members Teesside musical Theatre Company delivered a standout production of Sister Act.

Alnwick SMS - Oklahoma
This musical tells the story of a community banding together against an outsider, and the frontier life that shaped America, with music from Rogers and Hammerstein Alnwick Stage Musical Society delivered a bold interpretation of this classic musical which was well received from its sell out audiences.


And the overall Winner is …


Councillor Cup for Best Adult Production 

Any one of the winners could easily pick up the Councillors award for Best Musical the standard across these productions was extremely high and could have easily been delivered in one of the West End venues. The award this year goes to Durham Musical Theatre Company with Hunchback of Notre Dame.


I have one final set of awards to present, or rather re-present. At the NODA National Gala weekend incorporating the AGM recently in Preston, three of our regions societies were successful in the National Programme and Poster awards:

National runner up in the Perkins class of programmes is Sunderland TCo for ‘Curtains’

National runner up in the Timmens class of Poster is IYFTS  for ‘The Problem with Fathers’

National winner in the Barnes class of progammes is Murton TG for ‘Guys and Dolls’


Peter Oliver reads out citation for the Lonsdale Award:

"In February 1950, at the age of 9 years old, Irene attended the opening night of the society’s first production, The Mikado. 11 years later she became a member herself and has attended rehearsals ever since.

Irene Graham has been a member of our society for over 60 years during which she has taken on many varying roles on our committee including Secretary, Social Secretary, Vice Chair, Chair and is now our current President. She has also appeared on stage in lead supporting roles as well as a member of the chorus.

Over the years, Irene has arranged and taken part in many fund raising and social events, including beetle drives, treasure hunt car rallies, dinner dances, and BBQs hosted in her own garden. During the pandemic, at the age of 80, Irene mastered the use of Zoom to attend weekly quiz evenings with the society as she understood the importance of keeping our society going.

Irene has always been a strong believer in ‘belonging’ to a society and has only ever been a member of Fatfield.  Irene’s commitment to the society has been unwavering throughout her membership and although she is no longer an acting or singing member on stage, she continues to lead our Front of House team during performances. 

We are fortunate that Irene has passed on her love of musical theatre to her daughter and granddaughter.  Irene’s daughter is our current secretary, continuing to support the organisation of the society and her granddaughter has taken on lead supporting roles over the years.

Irene has regular attendance at monthly committee meetings, where her years of experience are invaluable in helping to steer the future direction of the society. Her contacts with local press teams has also been crucial in marketing shows and concerts over the years.  She now continues to support publicity through her personal Facebook page as well as the society’s.

Irene also continues to attend rehearsals, making refreshments and getting to know the new generation of members.

As well as Irene’s commitment to our society, she is a strong supporter of amateur theatre across the region, attending amateur shows and concerts where she can.  What Irene hasn’t seen, isn’t worth seeing, and her collection of programmes from different societies is phenomenal!

We strongly believe that Irene’s outstanding commitment to our society and amateur theatre across the region is worthy of a celebration.

The Lonsdale Award well deservedly goes to Irene Graham of Fatfield MSS