Preparing for the big show


South Otago thespians will be dusting off their best bib and tucker and heading north to Oamaru in a fortnight’s time to attend the 2018 Otago Southland Theatre Awards (OSTAs).

The best and brightest from within the Otago-Southland musical theatre community will be recognised at a strictly black tie affair, hosted by Musical Theatre Oamaru, on Saturday, February 16.

The West Otago Theatrical Society’s (WOTS) June production of Les Miserables has garnered 13 nominations in 10 categories, while the South Otago Theatrical Society (SOTS) has earned two nominations in the best leading female and male in a play categories.

Representing SOTS will be young actors Rebecca Botha (Miss Maple) and James Hewitt (Chandler Marlowe) from the April production of The Butler Did It

SOTS president Selena Aitken-Boyle said she was really happy for the young actors receiving recognition for their skills and was very excited to be going to her fourth awards presentation.

“Last year in Tapanui they really turned it on for everyone with many of the nominated productions getting up and giving us a sample of their roles and songs. It was just like a mini version of the Tony awards.

“This year we have two nominees from a group of wonderful young adults who did a great job of a classic Miss Maple murder mystery,” she said.

WOTS also picked up double nominations in best supporting male, best leading female and best leading male in the musical categories with Malcolm Gordon, Bruce Potter, Sophie Stuart, Ashely Moss, Craig Wadsworth, Paul Johnstone and Jayden Wadsworth.

WOTS director of Les Miserables Margie Rea said it was fantastic they had received the nominations.

“We had a great team and everyone worked really hard to make it a success.

“We wanted it to be true to the original Victor Hugo .. as we all sought to bring the story to the audience.

“It was exciting, as the audience really became affected by the show,” she said.

Her husband Jeff was co-managing director of the show with Nichi Russell and said Les Miserables was a privilege to do.

“It was great that we could take such an amazing piece of work and do it well and in Tapanui.

“We are a small rural community and it’s always a challenge to produce shows.

Les Miserables was one of those that everyone wanted to be involved in and they all worked really hard to make it a success,” he said.

Mrs Rea said the number of nominations was an accolade to the hard work everyone had put in, as actors and production companies did not go out to win awards – they were all totally focused on bringing the story to life and making it the best they could, despite the limitations of their situation.

“Our budgets are minuscule compared to bigger city productions so we have to learn how to make it all work on a very tight and tiny budget,” she said.