THERE'S no business like showbusiness for Brentwood's theatrical glitterati, who celebrated the 17th annual Brents in style.
The gongs are a nod to the town's actors, directors and people behind the scenes of stage comedies, dramas, musicals and tragedies over the past 12 months. If Hollywood has its Oscars and London the Baftas, then for Brentwood the spotlight firmly shone on the town last Thursday when scores of am-dram addicts packed Brentwood Theatre for the awards. The ceremony was compered by chairman of Brentw1 ood Theatre Trust and Brentwood School head teacher, Ian Davies and trust president Lord Petre.
The evening began on a subdued note as the audience reflected on the life of Barrie Logan, a long-time member of the board, who died from a brain tumour in May this year.
The awards were well split this year with Shenfield Operatic Society taking three gongs, Kytes Theatre Group taking three and Brentwood Operatic Society taking two.
Standout All three have put on regular productions over the past years and were given standout mentions for their work.
Shenfield Operatic Society's Sweeney Todd claimed best design of a musical and its cast member Louisa Byrne won best supporting actress in a musical for her role of the beggar woman in the same production.
Kerry Cooke won best performance by an actress in a musical for her role of Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd. The best performance by an actress in a play was picked up by Kytes's Claire Hilder, for her role as Mavis in Stepping Out.
The judges said of her: Not only could she choreograph, but she could act and dance too and the judges loved her energy in the classic dance comedy.
The best performance by an actor in a play was picked up jointly by Heads First Theatre Company's Paul Sparrowham for his role of Father Brendan Flynn in Doubt: A Parable, and Norman Arbuthnot for his part in The Last Supper performed by The College Players. Billericay Operatic Society's Ian Southgate won best actor in a musical for his role in The Drowsy Chaperone.
The play also won the best production of a musical with the judges saying: The Drowsy Chaperone was not a very well known show but Brentwood Operatic made it their own with a camp, witty, sparkling, fun, nonpolitically correct production that even had ukuleles.
The best production of a play went to The Flint Street Nativity performed by Kytes Theatre Group. One of the funniest plays I have seen at Brentwood, said one judge. Another added: Every cast member was believable, authentic, and understood how to combine humour and pathos.
Mark Reed, Brentwood Theatre administrator, said: It was a wonderfully glitzy evening when all the hard work over the past 12 months was acknowledged.
We have had so much feedback from our supporters of the awards. They had not realised what an amazing community the Brentwood Theatre is.
WERE YOU AT THE BRENTS? For more photos from the awards VISIT OUR PHOTO GALLERY brentwoodgazette.co.uk Winners: See who picked up a gong Best Performance by a Person Aged 18 and Under: Louise Bridgman for Sister James in Doubt: A Parable with Heads First Theatre Co.
The Margaret Hutton Youth Group Award: The youth members of Firebirds for Little Women Best Design of a Play: Arsenic And Old Lace by Blitzed Theatre Company Best Design of a Musical: Sweeney Todd by Shenfield Operatic Society Best Supporting Actress in a Play: Jean Morris for Miss Pole in Cranford with The Hutton Players Best Supporting Actor in a Play: Alan Ablewhite for Wise Frankincense / (Adrian) / Adrian''s Dad in The Flint Street Nativity with Kytes Theatre Group Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Louise Byrne for Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd with Shenfield Operatic Society Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Alec Stevens for Professor Bhaer in Little Women with Firebirds Best Performance by an Actress in a Play: Claire Hilder for Mavis in Stepping Out with Kytes Theatre Group Best Performance by an Actor in a Play: Paul Sparrowham for Father Brendan Flynn in Doubt: A Parable with Heads First Theatre Co and Norman Arbuthnot in The Last Supper with The College Players Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical: Kerry Cooke for Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd with Shenfield Operatic Society Best Performance by an Actor In a Musical: Ian Southgate for Man In Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone with Brentwood Operatic Society Best Production of a Play: The Flint Street Nativity with Kytes Theatre Group The Kramer Family Best Production of a Musical: The Drowsy Chaperone with Brentwood Operatic Society The Gill Wilson Award for the Most Imaginative Costume: Essex Dance Theatre Brentwood for Shall We Dance
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