AWARDS were won and speeches made as The News celebrated the best in local entertainment at a star-studded ceremony at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.
With 16 categories and a keen audience, the Guide Awards, run by The News in association with the Kings Theatre and Victory Trophies, last night honoured the best in entertainment from the area.
Voted for by readers of The News, they included the Best Pub/Restaurant/Wine Bar, which The Garage Lounge in Southsea won, and Best Exhibition, which was won by A Tale Of One City at the Portsmouth City Museum.
Winning the title of Best Professional Production for the second year in a row was Chichester Festival Theatre with Noel Coward’s Private Lives, which starred Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens.
As well as celebrating the best in entertainment, the evening also played host to a number of performances from the world of music and musical theatre.
Instant Star winner Jennifer Parker Lummis was the first to perform while Laurel, previously Under The Laurels, who has now been signed to Turn First Artists, sang with her acoustic guitar.
After the interval, the Portsmouth Players, who consequently won the Best Amateur Musical Production, warmed the crowd back up with a number from the Disney fairy tale, Beauty and The Beast.
Speaking after winning the award and performing, Emma Wilson said: ‘That was absolutely fantastic, it’s so exciting.
‘It was a great production to be part of, and my first with the Portsmouth Players.’
Bear Cavalry performed two songs in the second half of the evening, and won the Best Band category.
The band’s Matthew Cooke said: ‘We have a shelf ready for this trophy in our rehearsal room! It’s nice to get recognition from people in our area, to know that people have taken notice of what we’re doing and they appreciate it.
‘It’s nice to see there’s so much diversity in the community.’
It was David Cooper, the general manager of the Kings Theatre, who won this year’s Special Achievement Award.
Appointed in 2006, he started securing shows that attract a wide range of audiences, including local performance groups.
David said: ‘I’m so shocked at the moment. I was generally sitting there thinking “Oh, it’s someone from the Kings, who could this be?”
‘There’s so many people who have done huge amounts here, and I generally believe it has been a team effort. The past year has been a challenging one but we’re moving forward now.
‘The Guide Awards are so important because they highlight the best in the arts in the area, and nothing else does.’