A third of regional theatre gongs go to Foxton Little Theatre


The Foxton Little Theatre cast of Home Land, from top left, Mike Pyefinch as Paul Mason, Sophie Taylor as Sophie Mason, Matt Kilsby-Halliday as Graeme Taylor, Petrina Paxie as Trish Taylor, Carl Terry as Ken Taylor and Polly Pyefinch as Denise Mason.

LISA COLLINSON

The Foxton Little Theatre cast of Home Land, from top left, Mike Pyefinch as Paul Mason, Sophie Taylor as Sophie Mason, Matt Kilsby-Halliday as Graeme Taylor, Petrina Paxie as Trish Taylor, Carl Terry as Ken Taylor and Polly Pyefinch as Denise Mason.

Two Horowhenua troupes have won big at the regional theatre awards. 

Bouquets for theatre excellence across 30 categories were presented at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre on Friday night.

Foxton Little Theatre, one of the region’s smaller groups, collected third of them for three productions. 

The group’s wide-ranging accolades included best play for Home Land, best director Carl Terry (Butterflies Are Free), best female actor Allie Clifford (Butterflies Are Free) and best male actor Carl Terry (Home Land).

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Foxton also produced the premiere of Gone To Seed, which won recognition as the best new New Zealand full-length play for Dunedin playwright Tim Hambleton.

Levin Little Theatre picked up seven awards for its production of Shrek the Musical, including best musical. 

Palmerston North productions of Antony and Cleopatra, Avenue Q, Alice in Wonderland Jr, Les Miserables, The Wedding Singer, Spring Awakening and Mamma Mia! also picked up awards.

Nominated across the more than 30 performance, creative and technical categories, the 140 finalists were assessed by a voluntary panel who, during 2019, evaluated 27 productions by 17 theatre groups based between Feilding and Levin.

Convenor Sheridan Hickey said anyone who made the “Theatre Lovers” nomination list could feel extremely pleased about the quality of their work. 

Hosted by improv performers SpontaneoUS, special guests included Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway, mayor Grant Smith and deputy mayor Tangi Utikere.

They were joined by playmarket director Jonathan Hendry, from Wellington; Daniel Clarkson, the UK writer and director of Centrepoint’s Potted Potter; and Mel Cook, UK director for the 2020 Summer Shakespeare production of Twelfth Night.