Today we can finally reveal those who have made it to the shortlists for this year’s Guide Awards.
It is just over three weeks until the big night, when arts and culture from Portsmouth and the surrounding area will be celebrated.
The awards ceremony takes place at The Kings Theatre in Southsea on Monday, January 26.
Features editor Simon Toft says: ‘Congratulations to everyone who’s been shortlisted – there have been some very close fought fights.
‘Thank you to everyone who voted, whether by text, online, or using the form in The Guide. These awards wouldn’t work without your support. But we can now look forward to the big night.
‘We’ve got an exciting evening lined up, and we hope to see as many of you there as possible.’
Besides announcing the 12 category winners, plus a Special Achievement award, we have got some great acts performing on the night too. Young singer Lucy Simmonds will be demonstrating why she won our Instant Star competition.
The Portsmouth Players will also be treating the audience to an excerpt from their upcoming version of Hairspray, which will be at The Kings from February 24.
And we will be hosting an exciting debut from a new musical project featuring two of our shortlisted acts. Matt Jarvis, winner of last year’s Best Solo Artist, has teamed up with The Business Partners – who have made the cut in the Best DJ category – as BigChildManChild.
Matt says: ‘I did a track a while back on my own called Big Child Man Child that had this sort of electronic influence, and The Business Partners produced the track for me. They’re old friends of mine. We got working together in the studio and it became this project.’
And he recalls winning a year ago: ‘I was absolutely shocked – I was shaking backstage after winning. I was blown away by people recognising what I was doing.
‘I wasn’t even expecting to be nominated, and I’m certainly not expecting to win again this year. There’s some very good artists in the running.’
Tickets for The Guide Awards are free and you don’t have to be a nominee or performer to come along – anyone can attend.
To apply for tickets, call The News on (023) 9262 2136, or e-mail email@example.com. Tickets will be sent by post, so be sure to book in advance for this special night.
Joe Wells: Joe took his first show to Edinburgh, Night of the Living Tories, where it was well received, and runs the Havant Comedy Club.
James Alderson: As well as compering clubs in Horndean and at the Spinnaker Tower, James organised Mic, Bike and Hike for charity.
Suzi Ruffell: Appeared on BBC3’s Ed Comedy Fest Live and is soon to be performing on Comedy Central’s Live From The Comedy Store.
Instant Soop: The Havant-based improv masters continue to dazzle audiences across the region.
Sean Collins: A well-established name who has them laughing all over the country.
Adam Broomfield-Strawn: Made it in as a strong showing for a readers’ nomination.
Popobawa: The Gosport trio only formed earlier this year, but have already been impressing music industry figures.
The Boy I Used To Be: Signed to Pie & Vinyl Records, their live sets have been winning new fans over.
Electric Arms: A four-piece indie-folk-soul combo who played at Victorious Festival and supported Stornoway recently.
Kassassin Street: Selling out every gig they play in Portsmouth, the psych-rock band have gained a reputation as a killer live act.
Kodiak Jack: Hard rockers who released their second album, and gigged hard – headlining the Wedgewood Rooms twice.
The Underground Pilots: When not putting on shows through Pilot Promotions, they’ve been busy laying down their own grunge tracks.
Dan Thompson: Tipped for big things as some of his tracks are being played by international DJs.
The Business Partners (Steve Probert & Lloyd Hoy): Two of the hottest names in house music, they hold a residency with Amplified.
Chris Vaux: Curator of Discreet, which has built a name for putting on some of the best parties around.
Pete Scathe: Host of regular indie nights, including Connection at Scandals and Rock Lobster at The Atrium.
Matt Berry: A popular figure on the Portsmouth scene with regular sets at The Astoria and Drift bar.
DJ Lemon (Carl Wood): The It’s A Sin mastermind marked 15 years of The Hotbox and also played at Bestival.
Victorious Festival: Moved to a new seafront home in its third year, where it proved to be a great success.
Southsea Fest: Now established as a place to break new acts as well as supporting local talent.
Mutiny in the Park: Dance music got its first major outdoor event in the city, attracting some of the biggest names around.
Greg Gilbert at The Spring, Havant: Using biro, pencil and paint, Greg created a world of fantasy and melancholy.
Tricorn exhibition at the City Museum: Proved that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
FACES, Historic Dockyard: An outdoor video installation that drew on 100-year-old archive material.
Karen’s Room: Karen Wakes up one morning to find a handsome stranger at the foot of her bed. But what does he want? By Geoff Harmer and Neil Thomas.
Justice: A condemned man reflects on his crimes. By Mark Oakley and Gavin Damerall.
Abduction: A writer experiences something unexpected. By Harry Bartholomew.
A Good Night’s Sleep: Being forced into a double dinner date doesn’t help Anna’s problems. By Sam Knight.
Purgatory: A girl wakes up on the plains of Purgatory. In a desperate attempt to survive, she ventures into the unknown. By Zach Richardson.
The Missing Reel: Two people come to the end of a long journey. By John McGinty and Riyadh Haque.
BEST PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTION
Gypsy, Chichester Festival Theatre: Imelda Staunton as showbiz mother from hell in Sondheim classic.
The Lion King, Mayflower Theatre: Director Julie Taymor created an epic spectacle of the African savannah.
Avenue Q, Kings Theatre: Blend of childlike puppetry and adult humour brought to life by 11 performers.
Wicked, Mayflower Theatre: Touring production told the back story of the witches from the Wizard of Oz.
Singin’ In The Rain, Mayflower Theatre: The tale of the first Hollywood musical.
Amadeus, Chichester Festival Theatre: Rupert Everett as Salieri raged at God for producing Mozart.
Northney Farms Tearooms, Hayling Island: Renowned for its friendly service and locally-produced food.
Marmion Pub, Southsea: An upmarket pub that delivers on a promise of better grub.
Southsea Coffee Co, Southsea: A welcome independent addition to the coffee shop scene.
The Sussex Brewery, Emsworth: Taken over by chef Simon Haynes, the food has come on in leaps and bounds.
Truffles, Southsea: Recently refurbished, its menu offers classics with a nod to French cuisine.
Jamocha, Southsea: Homemade soups and cakes hit the spot in this funky little cafe.
BEST AMATEUR MUSICAL PRODUCTION
Grease, The Portsmouth Players: Feelgood boy-meets-girl musical jam-packed with hit songs.
South Pacific, South Downe Musical Society: Ferneham Hall production of post-Pearl Harbour musical.
White Christmas, South Downe Musical Society: Kings Theatre, Southsea, hosted this production of Irving Berlin’s classic.
Sister Act, Portsmouth Players: Players’ version of 1992 hit film that starred Whoopi Goldberg.
Avenue Q, South Downe Musical Society: Crude songs, naughty jokes that only puppets could get away with.
Tommy, CCADS: Story of the deaf, dumb and blind kid.
BEST AMATEUR ACTOR
David Penrose in Dealer’s Choice, Bench Theatre: The Bench stalwart gave a strong performance as Stephen.
Sean Ridley in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, CCADS: A particularly elfin Puck in a production that made good use of its venue.
Aaron Holdaway in The Comedy of Errors, Southsea Shakespeare Actors: ‘Blazed the trail in the comedy stakes’, said our critic.
Jonathan Redwood in The Sound of Music, Fareham Musical Society: Made a fine captain and had great romantic tension with his Maria.
Stuart Frank in The Three Musketeers, Interalia Theatre: Excelled as the dashing lead D’Artagnan.
John-Paul McCrohon in Birdsong, CCADS: Gave Jack a softness that belies his harsh surroundings.
BEST AMATEUR DRAMA PRODUCTION
Dealer’s Choice, Bench Theatre: A comic and savage play about gambling.
Birdsong, CCADS: An impressive ensemble piece, with several stand-out performances.
Pride and Prejudice, One Off Productions: Sheila Birt was an outstanding Mrs Bennet, while Nick Rickard delivered as Mr Darcy.
The Comedy of Errors, Southsea Shakespeare Actors: Our critic called it ‘the best SSA offering for some time - great fun.’
The Three Musketeers, Interalia Theatre: Extraordinary sword skills in a neat modern take on the Dumas classic.
The Talking Cure, CCADS: Sally Goddard convinced as Sabina, evolving from a hysterical teenager into a bewitching lover for Jung.
BEST SOLO ACT
Matt Jarvis: Last year’s winner has continued to grow as an artist with shows across the region.
Eloise Keating: Winner of the All About The Song competition, Eloise is one to watch.
Laurel: Has been making a lot of waves this year, picking up plenty of airplay and impressing with her live performances.
Jerry Williams: She’s written with Newton Faulkner, released an EP, and played at this year’s Victorious Festival five times.
Marley Blandford: Began the year by releasing his debut album and finished it by supporting American star Christina Perri in London.
Rex Domino: The young hip-hop artist has been building a name for himself as part of Breakfast of Champions with DJ Yoda.
BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC ACT
Renaissance Choir: Showed enterprise in programming and quality in performance.
Portsmouth Choral Union: PCU promoted potent performances of two 20th century English masterpieces .
George Burrows: Conducted the University of Portsmouth Choir in a unique survey of music by Cecilia McDowall.
Colin Jagger: Created a unique concert performance with the Havant Symphony Orchestra and Portsmouth Chorus.
Portsmouth Baroque Choir: Combined ingenuity and drama in a performance of Messiah with Chichester’s Consort of Twelve.
Havant Chamber Orchestra: Excelled itself with an accomplished performance of Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony.
BEST AMATUER ACTRESS
Sue Rourke in Tommy, CCADS: Gave an impassioned performance as the pinball wizard’s mother.
Alexandra Maclean in The Sound of Music, Fareham Musical Society: Alexandra Maclean stepped neatly out of Julie Andrews’ shadow.
Lauren Kempton in South Pacific, South Downe Musical Society: Played Nellie Forbush with sassy conviction.
Sheila Elsdon in Sister Act, Portsmouth Players: An uptight delight as the long-suffering mother superior.
Kim Seagrove in Sister Act, Portsmouth Players: Stood out as the ebullient Sister Mary Patrick.
Kirsty Terry in Little Women, Bench Theatre: The Bench newcomer made her mark as Beth.