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Wellington Theatre Awards 2019

And the winners are...


The Wellington Theatre Awards 2019

7pm Sunday 8 December

Shed 6, Wellington


The Wellington Theatre Awards - Ngā Whakarākei O Whātaitai recognises the actors, designers, writers, composers and directors that create and produce theatre in Wellington.


This year we celebrated the innovation, originality and collaboration evident within the theatre community of Wellington. We acknowledge and applaud the recent research undertaken on career sustainability of arts professionals by Creative NZ, and embrace the discussion of how career sustainability contributes positively to the well-being and mental health of artists and arts practitioners within the creative sector.


The evening began with a karanga led by Toni Huata and mihi by Adrian Tangaroa Wagner. With the waiata Purea Nei, the whole room of 300 guests joined in, starting the night off with a sense of unity and collective pride.


This year’s awards were hosted with humour and generosity of spirit by MC Stella Reid. Stella wore a suit onto which she had hand painted the words men have said to her and about her in the industry( “I’m culturally appropriating toxic masculinity.”). She spoke to the inclusivity, fairness and support sought by the passionate community of theatre practitioners in the capital. Stella was supported by the outright hilarious Tessa Waters and Victoria Falconer of the Glittery Clittery Fringe Wives Club, who swooped in as her Personal Diva Machine at the press of a bell.


This year’s Mayoral Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre went posthumously to Nancy Brunning, acknowledging her achievements over her vast career in theatre. Tanea Heke, director of Toi Whakaari and long time friend of Nancy, offered the citation for this award and touchingly honoured Nancy’s work and person. Tanea Heke and Nancy Brunning set up Hapai Productions together in 2013 and this year Hapai Production’s Pakaru won a stunning number of awards- five out of their seven nominations; Jennifer Lal for Lighting Designer of the Year, Sean Coyle for Set Designer of the Year, Mitch Tawhi Thomas for New NZ Play of the Year, Excellence Award for Ensemble and won the Jack Jeffs Charitable Trust Production of the Year.


The Wellington Theatre Awards congratulates all nominees and creatives on another excellent year of theatre. We can’t wait to see what you create in 2020!


The Theatre Awards Trust would like to sincerely acknowledge the incredible support of: 

The Lion Foundation, Wellington City Council, The Dominion Post, Jack Jeffs Charitable Trust, Circa, BATS, Taki Rua, Toi Whakaari, Victoria University of Wellington, Capital E, Playmarket, Weta Workshop, Emerging Artists Trust, Park Road Post, New Zealand Festival, Showcast, MJF Lighting, Production Transport Services, Multi-Media Systems, Metro Productions, The Big Pic.


And huge thanks also to the Wellington Theatre Cluster - Barbarian Productions, BATS Theatre, Capital E, Circa Theatre, Hannah Playhouse, Playmarket, Taki Rua Productions, Tawata Productions, The Conch, Young & Hungry


Wellington Theatre Awards 2019 Winners:


The George Webby Most Promising Newcomer Award

TAHI: New Zealand Festival of Solo Performance


The Willem Wassenaar Most Promising Newcomer Award

Sam Tippet, Stage Manager Hamlet and Ransom


Lighting Designer of the Year

Jennifer Lal Pakaru and Orchids


Sound Designer of the Year

Jason Wright The Clearing


Set Designer of the Year

Sean Coyle Pakaru


The Paul Jenden Costume Designer of the Year

Rose Philpott and Tori Manley-Tapu Orchids


The Constance Scott Kirkcaldie Award for Outstanding Composer of Music

Eden Mulholland Orchids


The Peter Harcourt New Playwright of the Year

Abby Howells HarleQueen


Outstanding New NZ Play

Mitch Tawhi Thomas Pakaru


The Absolutely Positively Most Original Production

Captain Cook Thinks Again Barbarian Productions


The Grant Tilly Actor of the Year

Jason Te Kare Cellfish


The Dorothy McKegg Actor of the Year

Carrie Green Cellfish

The Campion Accolade for Outstanding Performance

Madeline McNamara The Attitudes-Refusing Performance


The Michele Amas Accolade for Outstanding Performance

Karin McCracken Yes Yes Yes


Excellence Award for Performance Ensemble

Pakaru Hāpai Productions

Excellence Award for Theatre for Young Audiences

Story Studio Live 2019 Capital E National Theatre for Children

Excellence Award for Theatre for Social Change

Yes Yes Yes Eleanor Bishop and Karin McCracken, produced by Zanetti Productions


Director of the Year

Jo Randerson Captain Cook Thinks Again


The Jack Jeffs Charitable Trust Production of the Year

Pakaru Hāpai Productions


Contact details:

Written by

Hannah Jones

9 Dec 2019