Octagon Scoops National Award
On Sunday 7 November the glitterati from the world of theatre descended upon the Lyric Hammersmith in London to attend the 2010 Theatrical Management Association (TMA) Theatre Awards. The event was hosted by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood and attended by stars of the stage and screen, yet despite a celebrity guest list, it was theatre newcomer, 70 year old Dave Sharpe from Bolton, who was amongst the winners - even though he had barely set foot in a theatre until recent months.
Dave Sharpe was one of the ensemble cast of the Octagon Theatre’s production of The Hired Man that was nominated in the category of Best Performance in a Musical. The cast was made up of a sixteen-strong community chorus of local people from Bolton and the wider region who performed on the Octagon stage alongside a company of professional actors, including ex-Emmerdale star Amy Nuttall. The TMA Awards is one of the most significant events of its type for theatres outside London, and this is the first time since they began in 1991 that the Octagon has been the recipient of one of these awards. There was a notable list of nominees this year too, with the actors Jonathan Pryce and Frances Barber and theatre companies including the Royal Court and the Royal Shakespeare Company all up for awards.
Dave was amongst a number of amateur performers who answered the Octagon’s call to make up a chorus of people who would go on to play soldiers, miners and a host of other roles in The Hired Man. But when he first responded to the advert in the local paper, he never thought that he would be taking to the stage at London’s legendary Lyric Hammersmith Theatre to collect a prestigious national award. He said:”It has been a real privilege to be part of The Hired Man; it was a joy to work with everybody involved at the Octagon and this award is a real triumph for the whole cast and crew. It’s surreal to be here receiving awards but it’s definitely one that the Octagon deserves.”
The TMA Theatre Awards celebrate the best of British theatre from around the United Kingdom, with a combination of public panellists and industry experts deciding on the three nominations for each award. The award for Best Performance in a Musical was presented by Harriet Thorpe who famously played the receptionist who kept her children under the counter in The Brittas Empire, and who has since appeared opposite Jason Donovan in the national tour of Sweeney Todd, and starred in the West End’s smash-hit musical Wicked.
Artistic Director at the Octagon Theatre and Director of The Hired Man, David Thacker, accepted the award on behalf of the ensemble cast and commented: “I would like to thank the ensemble of ten extraordinarily talented professional actor musicians and sixteen dedicated and committed members of Bolton's local community. All twenty-six members of the ensemble have worked together with enormous commitment and creativity. But their work has only been possible because of the support and dedication of the entire Octagon staff and I'm delighted to accept this award on their behalf.”
For a full list of winners and nominees visit the TMA website at www.tmauk.org
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