Double awards success for Alnwick’s musical stars

Sister Act: The Musical, by Alnwick Stage Musical Society at Alnwick Playhouse.
Sister Act: The Musical, by Alnwick Stage Musical Society at Alnwick Playhouse.

Alnwick Stage Musical Society landed two prestigious amateur theatre gongs at an awards ceremony last night.

As previously reported by the Gazette, the group’s spring production of Sister Act: The Musical had been nominated for a trio of National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) North accolades. NODA North covers an area from the Scottish Borders down to North Yorkshire.

The show, which ran to sold-out audiences in March, had been recognised for the performance of leading lady, Leonie Dial, as Deloris Van Cartier; a second for Darren Lewis as Sweaty Eddie; and another for the production as a whole.

And last night, at a ceremony at Rainton Meadows Arena near Sunderland, Leonie went to head-to-head with Darren and took the prize for the best individual performance in District 9 (Northumberland), while the society itself won the best production prize, which takes into account direction, musicality, dance and overall production value.

The Gazette review concluded that the sold-out show was ‘an absolute hoot from start to finish, with heavenly performances, catchy tunes, a stunningly-beautiful set and glitzy costumes’.

The success comes as rehearsals are about to begin for the society’s 30th anniversary show, Evita, which will be staged in 2017.

Leonie Dial, as Deloris Van Cartier, in Sister Act: The Musical.

Leonie Dial, as Deloris Van Cartier, in Sister Act: The Musical.

Michael Pearson, who directed the show, said: “This is the perfect way for the society to begin its 30th anniversary celebrations.

“The only time we’ve ever come close to winning was an individual performance nomination for Dave Penny four years ago, but this really does show how we’ve raised the bar in the last few years.

“I mean, it’s not been without its challenges as we can’t enjoy the various freedoms we used to when putting on a show, but we jumped through many hoops to bring our sell-out production Sister Act back in March.

“The society still ploughs on through thick and thin and that’s testament to all the performers, directors, stage and costume crews and the audiences that come see and get involved in our shows year after year.

“On Tuesday, we will be celebrating the start of our anniversary production, Evita, and marking 30 years since Norman Luke, Paul Toward and other founding members came together to put on The Sound of Music.

“I’m sure the Playhouse will certainly be alive with song and dance next week as we can now lay claim to this prestigious title. We have to thank Kathryn Curry from NODA who nominated us for the awards.”

Elsewhere, there was more success for Northumberland groups at last night’s awards with The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth, and Felton and Thirston winning production awards for their respective pantomimes.