Meet the finalists for this year’s WOW247 Awards

Former Instant Star winner  Lucy Simmonds performs at last year's awards night
Former Instant Star winner Lucy Simmonds performs at last year's awards night
  • The WOW247 Awards night is on January 25 at The Kings Theatre in Southsea
  • 14 awards are up for grabs
  • Tickets are free and open to everyone, contact details are below
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Today we can finally reveal those who have made it to the shortlists for this year’s WOW247 Awards.

It is just over two 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 25.

Editor of The News Mark Waldron says: ‘Looking down the lists of those who are shortlisted, it highlights just how broad the pool of talent and creativity is in our region.

‘I’d like to wish everyone who’s made the cut my congratulations – voting in some of the categories has been very tight.

‘And thank you to everyone who voted, whether by text, online or using the form published each week in WOW247. These awards wouldn’t work without your support.

‘We’ve got an exciting evening lined up and we hope to see as many of you there as possible. Don’t delay in applying for your free tickets.’

Besides announcing the 13 category winners, plus a Special Achievement award, we have got some great acts performing on the night too.

We will have talented singer Mollie Jay Hughes, who will be showing exactly why she won our Instant Star competition.

The Portsmouth Players will also be treating the audience to an excerpt from their upcoming version of the hit musical Spamalot, ‘lovingly ripped off’ from Monty Python, which will be at the Kings from February 9.

We are also proud to announce that Hollowed Hour, an up-and-coming band comprising of students from Portsmouth College – the awards’ sponsor – will be demonstrating why they’re starting to make waves on the local music scene.

And this year for the first time, we will also be having an official after-party. The Atrium, which is only a stone’s throw from the Kings, will be playing host to the event.

That will kick off after all the awards have been presented, and will feature performances from some of the nominees.

Tickets for The WOW247 Awards are free and you don’t have to be a nominee or performer to come along – anyone can attend. Doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

To apply for tickets, call The News on 07808 730986, or e-mail Tickets will be sent by post, so be sure to book in advance for this special night.



A. Best Comedy

James Alderson: Last year’s winner – took his first solo show, The Hunger James, to Edinburgh this summer

Sean Collins: A well-established name, continues to pack them in

Mike Cox: Has built on winning the South Coast Comedian 2014

Instant Soop: Havant-based improv masters continue to dazzle

Suzi Ruffell: Busy touring across the UK, including a great Wedge show

Joe Wells: As an associate artist for the New Theatre Royal His Think Tank shows provide laughs with topical issues

B. Best DJ

Soul Divide (Dan Back & Sam Bylett): House DJs who’ve been doing well since launching in 2014

Peter Callard: DJ and production skills have been highlighted with big new tracks and mixes

Dan Thompson: The trance DJ has been taking it international in 2015

Will Chump: Indie DJ mainstay, still pulling the crowds at Delight

Ethan Owen: The Wolf Cub Club alt-tune spinner

Monkey Love Stunt Team (Andy Chrisham, Lee Fisher, Damon Sirena and Fly Mike): It’s always fun factor 10

C. Best Band

Battery Hens: Possibly our least likely diplomatic envoys, they’ve been winning fans in Germany

Blackfoot Circle: Strong live show builds fans for this four-piece

Big Child Man Child: Dazzled everywhere they played after debuting at last year’s awards show

Kassassin Street: Recently completed a successful first headlining UK tour

Kodiak Jack: Last year’s winners gigged hard and released a new EP

Seething Akira: Some high-profile support gigs are paying dividends for this fearsome live act

D. Best Solo Artist

Marley Blandford: Sang Frank Sinatra on primetime BBC1

Sophie Darling: Steady gigging and interesting new songs from Sophie

Paul Dillon: Singer-songwriter is rarely far from performing live

Fugitive Orchestra: Won this year’s All About the Song contest

Sam McCarthy: Ex-Gilkicker man continues to make waves beyond Portsmouth

Jerry Williams: Last year’s winner had another strong outing in 2015

E. Best Event

America’s Cup World Series: The sailing circus came to town with racing and live music

Festival of Speed, Goodwood: Aptly themed in 2015 as ‘Flat out and Fearless’

Icebreaker: Seventy local acts, six venues, one day in Southsea

Portsmouth Summer Show: Fun for all the family at the King George V Playing Fields

Victorious Festival: Record attendance numbers and top acts are putting this festival on the map

Wickham Festival: The more-than-folk fest gains national attention

F. Best Exhibition

Back to the Future – Portsmouth City Museum: Celebrating the films during the year Marty McFly travelled to

In The Frame – Aspex Gallery: A season about cycling put pedal-power first

Quiet Little Voices by My Dog Sighs – Play Dead Studio: The latest from the well-known street artist in a new exhibition space

The Story of Children’s TV – Portsmouth City Museum: Fun nostalgia for all generations

They That Are Left – Fort Nelson: Poignant portraits of remembrance

Under Milk Wood – Jack House Gallery: Dylan Thomas’ masterpiece revisited

G. Best Food/Drink Venue

Wave Maiden, Southsea: Artisan beer and fine cheese

Southsea Beach Cafe, Southsea: Locally-sourced food and drink on the seafront

6 Oz Burger, Southsea: Gourmet burger joint making headlines

Lavender Tea Rooms, Havant: Fine tea and cake

Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tea Rooms, Chichester: Former teacher makes good on her dream

Home, Southsea: Gourmet coffee and huge cakes

H. Best Film

Selfie, dir. Geoff Harmer: A woman is haunted by a strange figure in her selfie photos

The River, dir. James Quinn: A supernatural tale

Ret Con, dir. Bensalem Mitchell: A thriller with a sci-fi edge

Silhouette, dir. Thomas J Davenport: Exploring the world of a nightclub

Beyond the Glass Ceiling, dir. Gavin Damerell: Drama about women in the workplace

Gentlemen Like Us, dir. Vaughn Douglas Capstick: Feeling lucky?

I. Best Professional Production

Anything Goes - Mayflower Theatre: Classic Cole Porter musical

Importance of Being Earnest - Mayflower Theatre: Oscar Wilde’s ‘trivial comedy for serious people’

To Kill A Mockingbird - Chichester Festival Theatre: Weighty legal and moral drama

A Damsel In Distress - Chichester Festival Theatre: Musical comedy from Gershwin

Dickens Abridged - New Theatre Royal: A high-speed comic journey through Dickens’ Greatest Hits

Nursing Lives - The Spring: Wartime hospital-based drama

J. Best Amateur Production

Cider with Rosie - Humdrum at the Spring, Havant: Troupe tackles Laurie Lee’s take on his post-war childhood

The Ladykillers - CCADS, at The Kings Theatre, Southsea: Rich characterisation in this classic farce

The Merry Wives of Windsor - Southsea Shakespeare Actors, at Station Theatre, Hayling Island: Experienced cast carry the day in this comedy

Wife After Death - HIADS, at Station Theatre, Hayling Island: Proving that death can be a laughing matter

NSFW - Bench Theatre at The Srping in Havant: A timely look at morals in the modern media

And Then There Were None - Fareham Musical Society: Group abandons musicals for a stab at Christie’s classic multiple murder-mystery

K. Best Amateur Musical Production

Jekyll & Hyde – Fareham Musical Society at Ferneham Hall: Stevenson’s classic goes musical

Sunset Boulevard – Portsmouth Players at The Kings Theatre: Taking on the great Hollywood satire

Hairspray – Portsmouth Players at The Kings Theatre: Relentless humour from a cast with talent to spare

Legally Blonde – South Downe Musical Society at The Kings Theatre: Omigod! A fabulous night out

Sweeney Todd – Hayling Musical Society at Hayling Community Centre: Tackled Sondheim’s labyrinthine score with gusto

Bugsy Malone - Stage One Youth Theatre at Ferneham Hall: The very best at being bad

L. Best Amateur Actor

Sean Fisher – Cider with Rosie, HumDrum: Handled Lee’s poetic lyricism with aplomb

Ross Cobbold – Road Show, CCADS and Sweeney Todd, Hayling Musical Society: Two great roles for Ross

Stuart Frank – Jekyll & Hyde, Fareham Musical Society: Giving pain and pathos in the title roles

Jonathan Redwood – And Then There Were None, Fareham Musical Society: Solid turn as soldier of fortune, Philip Lombard

Nick Scovell – Oliver, Fareham Musical Society: A memorably unscrupulous Fagin

Danny Owen – Sweeney Todd, Hayling Musical Society: Owned the show as the eponymous barber

M. Best Amateur Actress

Sheila Elsdon – Sunset Boulevard, Portsmouth Players: Ready for her close-up as Norma Desmond

Alexandra Maclean – And Then There Were None, Fareham Musical Society: Very watchable as the glamorous Vera Claythorne

Jeanette Broad – Cider with Rosie, HumDrum: A delightful portrayal of the Lee family matriarch

Lucy Barratt – Jekyll & Hyde, Fareham Musical Society: Stood out as the main men’s love interest

Sue Rourke - Sweeney Todd, Hayling Musical Society: A vocal powerhouse performance, yet retained nuance

Lauren Kempton, Legally Blonde, South Downe Musical Society: A reader’s choice nomination for the lead role of Elle

N. Best Classical Music Act

Portsmouth Choral Union: Provided subtlety as well as power

Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral Choir: Giving authenticity in music-making a good name

Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir: Caught drama and anguish in their performances

Havant Chamber Orchestra: Conductor Robin Browning inspired deft playing

Portsmouth Festival Choir: Incisive performers

Renaissance Choir: Current award-holders keep up the good work