It was the biggest night of the year for the area's entertainment industry yesterday as the winners of The Guide Awards were announced.
The annual ceremony saw local showbiz stars and industry insiders mixing with fresh talent and readers of The News, as 16 awards honoured the best of local entertainment.
Rising stars graced the stage at the Kings Theatre in Southsea, both to pick-up awards and perform during the action-packed prize-giving hosted by Wave 105's Steve Power.
Winners and runners-up awards were presented by representatives from businesses and institutions including Portsmouth City Council, Highbury College, Portsmouth Guildhall and Pubwatch.
The best of theatre, music, food and drink, film, comedy, art and leisure was celebrated and applauded by an excited audience in the 1,600-seat auditorium.
The crowd were also treated to superb performances.
The show opened with a set from Best DJ nominee Owen Baxter of Tiger Tiger.
Other entertainment came from stand-up comedian Jonjo Rowlands who walked away with the Best Comedy Award, the three News Instant Star Winners, singer Lauren Oakley, actors James Hume and Kevin Redfern and last year's Best Band Hold Fast.
Drummer Toby Wheeler, who played acoustic guitar in Hold Fast's performance last night, said: 'It was a whole different experience for us this year.
'Last year we were out in the audience and celebrated a win. This year we were actually involved in the show. It was an honour.
'It's great to see everyone's achievements being recognised and this has been the icing on the cake of a great year for us.'
Audience member Nina Ford, who is visiting Portsmouth from Florida and came to the ceremony with friends from Bench Theatre, said: 'It's fantastic. First of all it's a fabulous setting.
'Any actor or musician who is lucky enough to appear on this stage will never forget it.'
She added: 'But what I really enjoyed about it was the cross section of the arts that was represented and all by people.'
The Special Achievement Award, which does not involve a public vote, went for the first time to a classical musician.
Peter Craddock founded the Havant Symphony Orchestra in 1962 and the Havant Chamber Orchestra followed three years later.
Since then he has steered them both through changes of venue as well as personnel while maintaining a commitment to adventurous programming and quality performance.
He said: 'It's a great honour. I'm very pleased that the work of the orchestras has been recognised.'
Nominated and voted for by readers of The News.
We asked our readers to nominate their favourite for the 15 vote-led categories and then held a further vote to choose the top six in the running for each title.
Our panel of experts then deliberated over the results of the poll to decide a winner and runner-up. They also chose the recipient for our 16th category – Special Achievement.
All shortlisted nominees were invited to the ceremony when the results were made public for the first time.
AND THE WINNERS ARE...
Best Solo Artist
Winner: Edward Perry.
Runner-up: Luke Ferre
Winner: Annie Jones, Lavant Street, Petersfield
Runner-up: Montparnasse, Palmerston Road, Southsea
Winner: Ghost Ship: A Pageant for Portsmouth
Runner-up: A Victorian Festival of Christmas (Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)
Best Professional Production
Joint winners: Chicago (Kings) & A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe on Tour, presented by the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth City Museum Gardens)
Winner: A Study In Sherlock (Portsmouth City Museum)
Runner-up: Carrier Strike (Action Stations, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)
Best Local Film
Winner: Less Than Romantic, by Simon Hatt
Runner-up: Mark, by James Harrison
Best Amateur Musical
Winner: The Producers (Portsmouth Players, Kings Theatre)
Runner-up: Passion (CCADS, Kings Studio 2)
Best Pub/Wine Bar
Winner: White Lion, Soberton
Runner-up: Blue Bell Inn, Emsworth
Winner: Jonjo Rowlands
Runner-up: The Raymond & Mr Timpkins Revue
Best Classical Music Act
Winner: Steve Tanner
Runner-up: Karen Kingsley
Best Amateur Drama
Winner: A Christmas Carol (Chichester Festival Youth Theatre)
Runner-up: Road (Bench Theatre)
Winner: Will Chump
Runner-up: Spikey Mark
Winner: Kill Kasper
Runner-up: The Strange Death of Liberal England
Best Amateur Actress
Winner: Kerry McCrohon (Death of a Salesman for One Off, plus Tell Me on a Sunday, Passion & Rent, all for CCADS)
Runner-up: Alice Corrigan (Closer, Bench Theatre)
Best Amateur Actor
Winner: Paul Tully (Jekyll & Hyde, for South Downe Musical Society)
Sean Ridley (Journey's End, for Bedlam Theatre, plus Rent, for CCADS)
Peter Craddock, founder and conductor of Havant Symphony and Chamber Orchestras