The Guide Awards are back, celebrating the best in the Portsmouth region's arts - so get voting!

The Guide Awards. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-659)
The Guide Awards. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-659)
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There may be a general election looming, but today we launch the voting for something we would argue is just as, nay, more important.

Yes, it’s time once more to launch The Guide Awards, our annual celebration of all that is good from across the region’s arts community.

Geoff Priestley of The Wedgewood Rooms presents Seething Akira with the Best Band award at the 2018 ceremony. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-7526)

Geoff Priestley of The Wedgewood Rooms presents Seething Akira with the Best Band award at the 2018 ceremony. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-7526)

There are 13 categories open for voting, ranging from stage to screen, music, art and more.

And there is also a Special Achievement Award which is sponsored by Portsmouth City Council. This is given to a person or organisation we deem to have made a significant contribution to the local arts world.

We are delighted to announce the return of Fry and Kent as the awards’ main sponsor. Their continued support is testament to their willingness to support the arts in their home city.

The estate agents successfully sell and rent property across Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire and have earned an enviable reputation for customer service and professionalism in the process.

Andrew Warner after winning the award for Best Amateur Actor at The Guide Awards 2018. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Andrew Warner after winning the award for Best Amateur Actor at The Guide Awards 2018. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Fry and Kent director Neil Maxwell says: ‘Sponsoring The Guide Awards represents a further commitment to arts and culture in the city.

‘With what has happened under austerity and cuts in spending to the arts, there hasn’t been enough money for arts to thrive.

‘We have all got a social responsibility to the arts, and this is one of the ways we are trying to do that, and to put our money where our mouths are.’

The News’s editor Mark Waldron says: ‘Last year we received a record number of votes – you voted for the awards in your thousands – which is a clear indicator of how much they mean to people.

Joanne Bushnell of Aspex Gallery presents Samo White with the Best Visual Artist trophy at The Guide Awards 2018. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-7472)

Joanne Bushnell of Aspex Gallery presents Samo White with the Best Visual Artist trophy at The Guide Awards 2018. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-7472)

‘We want you to back your favourites and help spread the word about just how many talented people we have among us.

‘It would be wonderful if we could top that number of votes this year and create a new record.

‘While we do our best each year to pick the best nominees in each category, we know we’re not infallible. And that is why each category also has a Readers’ Choice option – you can use this when voting if you think we’ve missed out a worthy candidate.

‘We’ll look forward to seeing you at the awards night in the new year, and the very best of luck to all of our nominees.’

CCADS performing a piece from their production of Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang at The Guide Awards 2018. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-7403)

CCADS performing a piece from their production of Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang at The Guide Awards 2018. Picture: Sarah Standing (280119-7403)

The awards night for 2019 will take place at the Kings Theatre in Albert Road, Southsea, on Monday, January 27.

All of the winners will be announced on the night, and there will also be some great entertainment.

Closer to the time we will let you know how you can get hold of your free tickets to the big bash – it’s open to everyone.

So make sure you have your say – voting closes at midnight on Sunday, December 29.

Cast your votes by clicking HERE.

The film category is run with Portsmouth Film Society, and hosted by Making Waves International Film Festival. Go to tiny.cc/guidefilm where you can watch all of the nominated films and vote for them.

The Guide Awards. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The Guide Awards. Picture: Habibur Rahman

A.BEST COMEDY SPONSORED BY PORTSMOUTH GUILDHALL

1. Sunjai Arif: Took a new show, Which Princess Are You? to Edinburgh Fringe while continuing to co-host the Boutique Comedy Club at The Wave Maiden in Southsea.

2. Hetty Austin: Co-founder of the Boutique Comedy Club, deserving of better than picking up awards on behalf of her colleagues.

3. Dan Churchley: ‘Hampshire’s Houdini’, his blend of comedy, magic and escapology has continued winning fans as Solent Comedy’s MC, and host of Show Quizness at The Lord John Russell.

4. Nathan Eagle: Has continued gigging while also acting with the Broken Bricks production company.

5. The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue: The scene veterans continue to entertain across the land with their distinctive double-act.

6. Perry Reilly: As co-founder of PM Promotions, Perry has helped set up and MC the regular comedy night at The Dolphin, and more recently at The Emporium in Southsea and Staggeringly Good bar.

7. Graham Rice: Co-host of the Emergency Mixtape podcast with former Guide award-winner Joe Wells – they aim to create a mixtape for every eventuality.

8. Matt Roseblade: Regular MC for the Comedy at The Fat Fox nights, and promoter of Puns and Roses at The Rose in June.

9. Jake Young: Runs the Comedy at The Alverbank night in Gosport, which continues to draw top acts, while also gigging plenty across the south.

10. Readers’ Choice

B. BEST DJ
1. Banksy: Runs Banksy and Dunn’s Drum and Bass show on The Fort Radio, hosted local events such as Banksy and Dunn’s Garden Party and has routinely played across the city.
2. Drift & Roll 3: The DJ duo have supported Annix, Dillinja, Shimon and Arcane together and hosted regular events across the city.
3. Alex Dutton: Delight and PopWorld resident DJ playing consistently across the city in both pop music and alternative, also seen success with running sold out Portsmouth Party DJ and PopKids events.
4. Luke Loud: Supported Wilkinson, Maztek, Noisia, Halogenix, Dillinja, Benny L, Gerra & Stone across the south and is a regular in the city.
5. Monty Ozanne: Played often across the city at Outhouse, ResiDance and Zeal Movement and Love Amplified events, supported Anime Edge & Dance, Wheats and Soul Divide and played Goat Shed Radio.
6. Pete Scathe: Long-running indie DJ with Connection at Zanzi, Rock Lobster at The Deco and Wolf Cub Club at The Edge of The Wedge.
7. Soul Divide: Love Amplified brought Anime Edge and Dance, GW Harrison, Danny Howard, to Portsmouth and supported all of their acts, played South Central Festival and ran large events across the city.
8. DJ Wheats: With consistent BBC Radio1 play from Danny Howard and Pete Tong, he's headlined events across the city and is signed to various labels including Toolroom and Madtech.
9. Will ChuMp: Twenty years of success with alternative night Delight, booking the likes of Slaves and flying the flag at other nights such as Overboard at Fleet, Thank The Lord It’s Friday at LJR and Waster at Pryzm.
10. Readers’ Choice

C.BEST BAND, SPONSORED BY THE WEDGEWOOD ROOMS

1.Colour of The Jungle: Singles Steel Tray and Humblebee highlighted contrasting sides of the rockers, while a sold out Wedgewood Rooms gig and a Radio Solent takeover demonstrated their continued rise.

2. Emiliyah and The MightyZ All Stars: Flying the flag for reggae in the region – a popular live act wherever they play.

3. Emptifish: Released their debut album, Sonic Love, 35 years into their career, and four years into an increasingly lengthy indian summer – the garage-surf-punks remain a potent live act.

4. Fake Empire: The three-piece have impressed wherever they play across the south, with their indie-rock consistently aiming for ‘epic’ on an impressive string of singles.

5. Four Folds Law: After a largely quiet 2018, the indie veterans hit 2019 running with a run of dates, and released a strong EP in time for one of the sweatiest shows of the summer at The Barn in Milton.

6. Neverman: Once a promising solo act, frontman Matt McGowan brought the band together after overcoming an injury which nearly derailed his music career. Headlining at The Wedge and singles and an EP have followed.

7. The Rems: Formed from three members of ’80s/90s Pompey music legends The Mild Mannered Janitors, they’ve proved that the passing years haven’t lost them their bite.

8. The Stone Birds: Formed barely a year ago, they’ve got the swagger of youth backed with a persuasive live show.

9. VCR: An eventful first year for the four-piece indie-rock band – they won The Wedge’s Annual Showcase competition and the national Youth Music Original Track award at the Youth Music Awards.

10. Readers’ Choice.

D. BEST SOLO ACT, SPONSORED BY BH LIVE

1. Ban Summers: The welcome return to regular action of Edward Perry under his new nom de plume, and formerly known as The Boy I Used To Be. His self-titled debut album of lo-fi soul picked up rave reviews.

2. Tom Bryan: The former Shoot The Duke frontman began carving out a solo career, with numerous support and headline gigs, and releasing debut single Heavy Weather which received support from Tom Robinson on Radio 6Music.

3. Evangeline: Sharp indie-pop from this teenager, who is a graduate from the ranks of the Urban Vocal Group, and has gigged loads across the region.

4. Fugitive Orchestra: A busy year for the one-man band James Tattington, including gigs in Norway and a slice of social commentary in the shape of single The Price of Doubt.

5. Lily Garland: Helped establish the two-day Country on The Coast festival while working hard on new music, which has been teased live – with a release just around the corner.

6. Alistair Goodwin: The singer-songwriter has been steadily building a following for his brand of acoustic roots. An acclaimed live performer he played a prestigious slot at the Southdowns Folk Festival.

7.Megan Linford: The folk singer-songwriter sold out The Square Tower for the launch of her Spring single, continued her seasonal releases with Autumn, and pushed forward with the Future Folk nights, which she also helped set up.

8. Parv: The hip-hop artist made his headline debut at The Guildhall’s Studio, had his song Bullet feature on Love Island and gained support from BBC Introducing for recent single Click.Share.

9. Kayleigh Thomas: When not busy drumming for Bemis, or being frontwoman of The Effectors, Kayleigh has carved herself a promising solo niche.

10. Readers’ Choice

E. BEST EVENT, SPONSORED BY VICTORIOUS FESTIVAL
1. Comic Con: May the Fourth be with the largest event of its kind in the south, drawing thousands of sci-fi and fantasy fans to Portsmouth Guildhall for a bumper weekend packed with creatives and cosplay.
2. Darkfest: The annual creative and cultural festival exploring all things dark, supernatural, and sinister, including the ambitious transmedia project, Cursed City – Dark Tide.
3. Dials Festival: The multi-venue urban festival presented the best of new and up-and-coming acts from the local and national scenes, while also boasting an inclusive agenda and supporting mental health charity Solent Mind.
4. D-Day 75 Commemorations: A weekend on Southsea Common remembering the heroes of D-Day, with period music, specially written music, a revival festival and the Red Arrows.
5. Games Fest: ‘Get your geek on’ they said, as the ultimate retro and board gaming festival celebrated 40 years of gaming, from Pong and Pac Man to Mario and Minecraft.
6. Icebreaker: More than 100 unsigned bands from across the region played on 12 stages in Southsea over two days
7. Portsmouth Festivities: Taking Twenty as its theme for the festivities’ 20th year, this 10-day fiesta staged its usual wide array of arts events, coming to a climax with the closing 20 Love.
8. South Central: Taking the place of Mutiny Festival, it shifted focus to a more pop and hip-hop oriented weekend, with headliners Craig David, Boy George and Armand Van Helden, while also keeping some of the old dance attitude.
9. Wickham Festival: Boasted a bona fide Hollywood star – Kiefer Sutherland in country-rock mode, as well as legends Graham Nash and Judy Collins, plus younger stars like Frank Turner on its bill.

10. Readers' Choice.

F. BEST PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTION
1. The Butterfly Lion, CFT: This new stage adaptation by CFT’s writer-in-residence Anna Ledwich of Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling novel, had reviewers tripping over superlatives.
2. Hair, Kings Theatre: The ‘hippy’ musical took us back to the Age of Aquarius with former panto star Jake Quickenden proving his acting chops, alongside Portsmouth-native-turned-West End star Paul Wilkins.
3. Les Miserables, Mayflower Theatre: Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed production of Boublil and Schönberg's blockbuster musical.
4. Matilda The Musical, Mayflower: Roald Dahl’s story of the little girl with a vivid imagination who dares to take a stand struck a chord with packed houses throughout its run.
5. Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Mayflower: 24 years after making its debut, Sir Matthew’s all-male take on the classic, continues to have the crowds flocking to it.
6. A Midsummer Nights Dream, New Theatre Royal: The Shit-Faced Shakespeare company proved that you can add something to The Bard’s work with a judicious pint or two for one of the cast.
7. The Mousetrap, Kings Theatre: The West End’s longest-running play, returned to the provinces on its latest tour, including former TV favourite Susan Penhaligon as Mrs Boyle in the Agatha Christie whodunnit.
8. Shadowlands, CFT: Hugh Bonneville starred as Narnia author CS Lewis, with Liz White as Joy Gresham, the woman he falls for.
9. This Is My Family, CFT: James Nesbitt and Sheila Hancock provided the star power in this musical about a family holiday from hell, but reviewers praised the six-person cast for their performances.
10. Readers’ Choice

G. BEST AMATEUR PRODUCTION, SPONSORED BY THE GAIETY BAR

1. Black Coffee, by Fareham Musical Society at Ferneham Hall, Fareham: A murder mystery written by Agatha Christie for the stage, and starring her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

2. The Deep Blue Sea, by Bench at The Spring Arts Centre, Havant: Despite the CFT staging Terence Rattigan’s 1952 masterpiece at the same time, the amateur company acquitted themselves more than admirably.

3. A Double Helping of Sherlock, by Phoenix Players at Trinity Church Theatre, Southsea: The Man with the Twisted Lip and The Dying Detective served up contrasting takes of the famous detective early on and later in life.

4. The Kings Speech, by CCADS at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth: Telling the true story of King George VI, and how he overcame his stammer with the help of maverick Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue.

5. People, by HumDrum at The Spring: One of Alan Bennett’s lesser-known works, about two elderly women who live in a large, dilapidated stately home.

6. The Pride, by Bench at The Spring: A cast of four tell parallel stories occurring in 1958 and 2008 in Alexei Kaye Campbell’s challenging play.

7. Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of The Baskervilles, by FMS at Ferneham Hall: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s deer-stalker-wearing creation tackles the murder of Sir Charles Baskerville.

8. Spider’s Web, by HumDrum at The Spring: Our reviewer hailed the ‘uniformly excellent cast’ as they tried to untangle Christie’s web of lies.

9. Towards Zero, by FMS at Ferneham Hall: The company bowed out from Ferneham Hall on a high before its refurb with this Christie adaptation.

10. Readers’ Choice.

H. BEST AMATEUR MUSICAL, SPONSORED BY THE KINGS THEATRE

1. Big Fish, by CCADS at The Station Theatre, Hayling Island: The heart-wrenching tale of the fraught relationship between Edward Bloom and his son Will, as the younger man uncovers the truth of his father’s life.

2. Bugsy Malone, at the Kings Theatre, Southsea: Custard replaces bullets in this child-friendly version of a prohibition-era gangster story, but the talented young cast proved to be a hit in this homegrown production from the Kings.

3. Cats, by Stage One Youth Theatre at Ferneham Hall, Fareham: Our reviewer said ‘the future of local theatre seems assured in such capable hands’, in a cast with an average age of just 13.

4. Grease, by Portsmouth Players at The Kings: A trip back to Rydell High in the American 1950s gave audiences the chance to fall in love with Danny and Sandy all over again.

5. Jesus Christ Superstar, by Portsmouth Players at the Kings: The company gave this early Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaboration a contemporary spin to bring it up to date.

6. My Fair Lady, by CCADS at the Kings: Packed with classic songs and based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, can Dr Henry Higgins make a ‘lady’ out of lowly flower-seller Eliza Doolittle?

7. Oklahoma!, by South Downe Musical Society at Ferneham Hall: Won very favourable comparisons from our reviewer to the CFT’s big-budget staging of the same Rodgers and Hammerstein show earlier in the year.

8. The Sound of Music, by SDMS at Ferneham Hall: Elena Richards proved her decision to return to the am-dram scene helped solve a problem like Maria in this sterling adaptation.

9. South Pacific, by FMS at Ferneham Hall: The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was the first production put on by the company at the venue, back in 1986, and now it has become its last, for now, while the theatre closes for a major refurb.

10. Readers’ Choice

I. BEST AMATEUR ACTRESS

1. Leigh Cunningham as Hester in  Deep Blue Sea by Bench.

2. Lauren Farnhill as Lady Dorothy Stacpoole in People by HumDrum.

3. Sally Hartley as Mrs Bennett in Pride and Prejudice by Bench.

4. Lauren Kempton as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady by CCADS

5. Kerry McCrohon as Sandra Bloom in Big Fish by CCADS.

6. Clare Plumridge as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific by FMS.

7. Elena Reynolds as Maria in The Sound of Music by SDMS.

8. Claire Stevens as Inspector Lord in Spider’s Web by HumDrum.

9. Helen Stoddart as Laurey in Oklahoma! by SDMS.

10. Readers’ Choice

J.BEST AMATEUR ACTOR

1. Ben Tanner as Freddie in Deep Blue Sea by Bench.

2. David Penrose as Miller in Deep Blue Sea by Bench.

3. Ben Counter as Sir Rowland Delahaye in Spider’s Web by HumDrum.

4. Craig Parker as Oliver in The Pride by Bench.

5. Matt Sackman as Jud in Oklahoma! by SDMS.

6. Charlie Frame as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar by Portsmouth Players.

7. Nick Scovell as Hercule Poirot in Black Coffee by FMS.

8. Paul Tully as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music by SDMS.

9. Jonathan Fost as King George VI in The King’s Speech by CCADS.

10. Readers’ Choice

K. BEST CLASSICAL

1. Jake Barlow: Recently stepped down as musical director of the St Richard Singers, but his dynamism and flamboyant style has re-energised the choir and he'll be greatly missed by choir members and audience alike.
2. The Chichester Singers: For their performance of A Child of Our Time. The final movement will linger long in the memory.
3. Karen Kingsley: For her unstinting support as piano accompanist to thousands of local school children and her involvement in the musical community in general. She has been hailed as an outstanding musician.
4. The Petersfield Orchestra: For their Russian Night concert as part of the Petersfield Music Festival.
5. Portsmouth Baroque Choir: For their performance of Bach’s B minor mass. One of the most difficult works in the repertoire was performed to a very high standard indeed.
6. Portsmouth Choral Union: For introducing rarely heard repertoire including Hummel's The Crossing of the Red Sea.
7. Portsmouth Light Orchestra's Autumn Concert: Bugler’s Holiday was brilliantly played by the orchestra’s three trumpeters, who surprised audience and orchestra alike by coming on dressed as cleaners.
8. The Renaissance Choir: For their latest CD, Stream of Life, featuring a commission from local composer, Ian Schofield
9. Valentina Seferinova: The pianist's performance of Ravel’s piano concerto with the Solent Symphony Orchestra and her control of the tranquil and serene solo brought about an atmosphere of celestial beauty.
10. Readers' Choice

L. BEST ARTIST, SPONSORED BY ASPEX GALLERY 
1.Bennett & McDermott: Collaborative duo Sharon Bennett and Dan McDermott produced an engaging participatory installation Twenty Years to mark Portsmouth Festivities' anniversary. The work invited visitors to Aspex’s artist studio, to image the future, exploring visions for 2039, while reflecting on life locally and internationally since 1999.
2. Peter Codling: It’s been a busy year for mainstay of the Portsmouth art scene Peter Codling. Resident in Atelier Studio & Gallery on Castle Road, he had a solo exhibition at Jack House Gallery and undertook a residency in the hermitage of Portsmouth Cathedral, producing the stunning site-specific installation Soup of Souls. A further residency at Threadgold Heritage Museum in Portsea led to the Threadgold Fish, which has toured the city as part of War on Plastics, highlighting the impact of single use plastic on the environment.
3. Sasha Damjanovic: Emerging artist and recent graduate of BA Illustration at the University of Portsmouth, Sasha is currently showing her work in the Platform Graduate Award 2019 at Aspex. Her work, including prints and risograph posters, is grounded in feminist thinking, politics and practice, evoking urgency and demanding attention.
4. Kevin Dean: Another central figure in the cultural life of the region, Kevin produced a beautiful body of work as Victorious Artist in Residence.  Examples of which will be on display in a group exhibition at Jack House Gallery 6 December 2019 -12 January 2020.  
5. Foursandeights: Print collective Marie and Darren work out of Hotwalls Studios and are developing quite a reputation for their work, celebrating all things Pompey.  Most recently their outstanding projection was shown as part of the launch of Portsmouth Creates and the Christmas Light switch-on in Commercial Road.
6. Heinrich & Palmer: It’s fantastic to see the work of internationally acclaimed artists Anna Heinrich & Leon Palmer closer to their home in Portsmouth, with an engaging video installation Wellspring commissioned by The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant and on show to December 28, 2019. Recent works have included major site specific digital installations for Hull Minster, RAMM in Exeter and the Crossness Pumping Station in London.  They are currently also working on a new commission for The National Trust’s Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire.
7. Clarke Reynolds: It’s been a big year for Clarke, who has used the traumatic experience of losing his sight, as the impetus to develop his art practice and reach out to the wider community. His project Eye Sea Squares for Portsmouth Festivities reached hundreds of participants, particularly local school children.  2019 was also the year of his first solo exhibition Seeing Without Seeing at Gosport’s new gallery space Yellow Edge.
8 Kate Street: Based in Southsea, artist/curator Kate Street makes things happen for herself and other national/international emerging artists. Visitors to Art Space Portsmouth have been treated to two engaging exhibitions which she co-curated Heimweh and Allhallowtide, while another project Select Dream is due to be realised at the old Knight and Lee department store at the end of this year.
9. Debra Welch: Originally from Portsmouth and now based in London, Aspex Artist Associate Debra returned to do a residency at the gallery, completing new video, photography and sculptural works for presentation in a solo exhibition All Things Are Yours for Chelsea Space, London. The work was drawn from her experience of documenting her former school, King Richard School in Paulsgrove, shortly after its closure and through to its demolition.

10: Readers' Choice

M. BEST FILM, WITH PORTSMOUTH FILM SOCIETY AND MAKING WAVES
1. Delivery, dir Jon Small and Maxine Mason: A delivery driver attempts to post a parcel. The door is left wide open. Anybody could just walk in.
2. Family Night, dir Caleb Johnston: A struggling couple, intent on saving their marriage, set aside one Saturday evening to reconnect as a family.
3. Guilt, dir Annabel Bryant and Shenali Karunatilake: Asiri is weighed down with guilt after the loss of his wife, struggling to accept his current situation.
4. Spit of a Common Man, dir Tim Faraday: Following a trench explosion, a mortally wounded young private talks about the futility of war with his veteran sergeant, who assures him that he will not die in vain.
5. Stripped Bare, dir Harvey Coombes: A drama-packed short film about a young woman who is stripping behind her mum and abusive stepdad’s back to try and escape from them.
6. The Loft, dir Dominic Grose: A woman eagerly awaits someone in her house. Yet her hopeful expectations are met by a horrific reality.