The best in Portsmouth’s arts scene is celebrated at The Guide Awards gala night

In a rare turn of events, one of the leading lights of Portsmouth’s amateur dramatics scene was left lost for words when he was presented with the Special Achievement trophy at The Guide Awards.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 11:01 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:35 pm
All the winners from the Guide Awards at the New Theatre Royal. Picture: Habibur Rahman

John-Paul McCrohon was given the special gong – usually the final presentation of the night – as a surprise when he thought he had come along to the awards’ venue, the New Theatre Royal, earlier in the day to help some of his company rehearse for part of the awards show.

To see our full picture gallery from the evening click on the link at the top of the article.

The founder of Corpus Christi Amateur Dramatics Society (CCADS) was unable to stay for the main show because he was in dress rehearsal for his own next performance, The King’s Speech, which opens today at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth.

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All the winners from the Guide Awards at the New Theatre Royal. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Since the 37-year-old started CCADS in 1992 while still a youngster it has become an am-dram powerhouse. He has also been an enthusiastic supporter of community events across the region, and also helped The Kings and the New Theatre Royal when both of those institutions were in financial trouble.

As his wife Kerry McCrohon said: ‘Probably 99 per cent of everything he does revolves around the theatre in one way or another. It’s what makes him tick.

‘He eats, sleeps and drinks theatre.’

John-Paul received his award from Cllr Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport.   

Best band, Seething Akira. Picture: Habibur Rahman

After overcoming being tongue-tied, John-Paul said: ‘I normally have a lot of things to say but I had no idea this was going to happen.

‘It's a genuine honour for doing what I am truly passionate about, in a city and area where the local theatre scene and indeed the whole entertainment scene is so thriving.

‘All of the companies that are here in the area, the depth in the field we have here is so tremendous.’

Estate agents Fry & Kent were headline sponsor for the night, which saw 13 other awards handed out throughout the course of evening, honouring outstanding efforts from 2018 in the fields of music, art, film-making and acting. Readers voted in their thousands for their favourites during December.

Best amateur actress, Clare Plumridge. Picture: Habibur Rahman

In his closing comments, compere Jack Edwards jokingly told the audience they had witnessed a new show: ‘The Awards Show That Goes Wrong,’ following a series of technical problems and a few unplanned changes to the script.

Don’t miss The Guide in Friday’s News for extensive coverage of the big awards night



Will Chump with his award for best DJ. Picture: Habibur Rahman


Best Comedy

WINNER: Joe Wells

RUNNER-UP: Sunjai Arif


Best Film

Cast of Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang with their award for best amateur musical. Picture: Habibur Rahman

WINNER: Delicacy, directed by Michael Middleton-Downer

RUNNER-UP: Love in First Sight, directed by Billy Stevenson


Best Professional Production

WINNER: The Play That Goes Wrong at The Kings

RUNNER-UP: War Horse at Mayflower Theatre


Best Amateur Production

WINNER: Dracula by HumDrum at The Spring

RUNNER-UP: The Tempest by Southsea Shakespeare Actors at The Square Tower


Best Festival

WINNER: Wickham Festival

RUNNER-UP: Icebreaker Festival


Best Solo Act

WINNER: Megan Linford

RUNNER-UP: Bella Estelle


Best Amateur Actor

WINNER:  Andrew Warner in Priscilla Queen of The Desert by Portsmouth Players

RUNNER-UP: Tony Johnson as The Childcatcher in Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang by CCADS


Best Amateur Musical

WINNER: Chitty, Chitty, Bang by CCADS at The Kings

RUNNER-UP: Hairspray by Titchfield Festival Theatre


Best Classical

WINNER: Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir

RUNNER-UP: Portsmouth Choral Union


Best Visual Artist

WINNER: Samo White

RUNNER-UP: Svetlana Ochkovskaya


Best DJ

WINNER: Will Chump



Best Amateur Actress

WINNER: Clare Plumridge in Grease by FMS

RUNNER-UP: Rhian Gardner in Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang by CCADS


Best Band

WINNER: Seething Akira

RUNNER-UP: Fake Empire


Special Achievement

John-Paul McCrohon



John-Paul McCrohon, winner of the Special Achievement Award. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-7321)