Southwick Players celebrate stars of 80th anniversary year

Harry Atkinson, director of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Tobias Clay's award for best male actor; Be My Baby director Sally Diver; The Rise and Fall of Little Voice actress Bob Woodman with Claire Lewis's award for best female actress; director Tony Bright; Players Player Anita Jones ; most promising youth member Phoebe Cook and best supporting actress Debbie Creissen
Harry Atkinson, director of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Tobias Clay's award for best male actor; Be My Baby director Sally Diver; The Rise and Fall of Little Voice actress Bob Woodman with Claire Lewis's award for best female actress; director Tony Bright; Players Player Anita Jones ; most promising youth member Phoebe Cook and best supporting actress Debbie Creissen
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SOUTHWICK Players have celebrated their stars of 2015 at an Oscars-style ceremony on Saturday.

The glittering SPOSCARS event, held at The Barn Theatre in Southwick, was celebrating the company’s four shows from its 80th anniversary year.

Tobias Clay playing Puck

Tobias Clay playing Puck

The evening was hosted by H Reeves and included a demonstration of tongue-twisting trickery in his daring duologue with Frank Horsley.

Buoyed by awards success in the autumn, Sally Diver picked up the award for Best Director, chosen by the committee, for Be My Baby.

Sally said: “Wow, what a year it has been. The Brighton and Hove Arts Council’s award for Best Overall Production but this is the real accolade for me. There was such a big team behind this show, they were amazing. The actresses were brilliant, they made my job so much easier.

“When I joined this company, I had absolutely no experience whatsoever. So everything I have learned, I have learned here. Southwick Players really is the best example of community theatre at its best.”

Claire Lewis, right, as Mari with Zoe Saunders as Little Voice

Claire Lewis, right, as Mari with Zoe Saunders as Little Voice

She was also thanked for helping to direct The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which won Best Overall Production.

Collecting the award, director Tony Bright said he had to step in to a key role at the last minute, so Sally took over as director.

“I could not have done it without her,” he added.

Claire Lewis, who gave a stunning performance as Mari in the play, was named Best Female Actress.

H Reeves and Frank Horsley's daring duologue

H Reeves and Frank Horsley's daring duologue

Collecting the award on her behalf, Tony said: “I know she did not believe in herself all the way through. This is a testament to how well she did. Thank you very much.”

Best Male Actor went to Tobias Clay for his performance as the merry and impish Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Debbie Creissen, who played Lotte Schoen in Lettice and Lovage, won the award for best supporting or cameo role.

She said: “It was a most delicious surprise.”

Rising star Phoebe Cook, 18, who played one of the expectant mothers in Be My Baby was named most promising youth member. She has been a member of the Players since she was 12 and is currently applying for stage schools.

President Nigel Bubloz also thanked the backstage crews and people who worked behind the scenes, pointing out what a big part they played in the productions.

The Players Player award, for people who had gone ‘above and beyond’ and deserved special recognition, went to secretary Anita Jones. She was chosen by members for all the work she puts in behind the scenes.

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