HERE IS A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE ORIGINS OF THE NPLT AWARDS
Margaret and Brian Hannam came to New Plymouth in 1967 after spending some years living and working overseas. They had been members of the Hamilton Player Guild in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada. The Guild is reputed to be the oldest Theatre Company in North America. Amongst their various traditions was the Annual Awards night. This was always planned to be the biggest formal social event of the theatre calendar. It was hugely popular and very prestigious.
The Hannams noted how these awards seemed to impact upon production standards and were much respected by the participants. Any recipient was proud to have been selected and competition for the awards was real. After joining NPLT the Hannams proposed the concept of the awards to the Committee (probably at one of the informal Committee meetings in the White Hart Hotel on a Friday night) It was agreed to stage the event on a annual basis with awards for Best Production. Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Stage design etc. Two trophies were commissioned and made by local sculptor Guy Gibson. Members donated several other trophies and the list of awards grew over the first few years.
The first Awards Night was formal and held at Burgess Park on December 14 1968. The adjudicators were the drama critics for the Taranaki Herald and Daily News, Trish Gribben and Bryan James. In the early years the Awards Night maintained its importance as a social event and a number of memorable events were staged at various venues around New Plymouth.
At the time NPLT were the ONLY theatre group in NZ to have such Awards at that time. There are now a few organisations who have similar Theatre Awards.
A LIST OF AWARD WINNERS OVER THE YEARS WILL BE ADDED SOON!