Celebrate the Portsmouth area’s arts scene and vote in The Guide Awards 2018

Compere, Jack Edwards presents Leigh Cunningham with Best Actress at The Guide Awards 2017. Picture: Keith Woodland
Compere, Jack Edwards presents Leigh Cunningham with Best Actress at The Guide Awards 2017. Picture: Keith Woodland

Today we launch this year’s Guide Awards, our annual celebration of the great and the good in our region’s arts community.

And 2018 has been a bumper year. From music to theatre, comedy and film, the awards aim to highlight who and what have been doing great things in the cultural sphere over the past 12 months.

Amba Tremain and Charlie Fletcher of Urban Vocal Group are surprised to win the Special Achievement Award. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Amba Tremain and Charlie Fletcher of Urban Vocal Group are surprised to win the Special Achievement Award. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

We’re thrilled to announce that Fry & Kent are returning as the awards’ main sponsor as they enter their own 50th year.

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

Neil Maxwell, director at Fry & Kent, said: ‘We enjoyed seeing the diversity of culture that exists in and around the city – and the inspiration and passion that they committed to their performances.

‘It was a really special event. Culture isn’t promoted perhaps as well as it could be across the board, too often people will just sit indoors and watch their TV when awards like this show how much is going on out there.

Sean Ridley with his Best Amateur Actor Award, 2017. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Sean Ridley with his Best Amateur Actor Award, 2017. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

‘To see some of those people get up onstage and see how much it means was fantastic, like Sean Ridley, the Best Actor winner who had given up his day job to try and make it as an actor. When he gave his speech about that, it’s not just empty “Hollywood” words.

‘I got to speak to some of them afterwards and I was so impressed by their passion and commitment. They’re the same traits that we bring to our own business. 

‘There’s a good synergy there between us.’

There are 12 awards for our readers to vote on, plus the Special Achievement Award, which is sponsored by Portsmouth City Council.

The Guide Award 2017 for Best Band presented by Geoff Priestley from The Wedgewood Rooms went to  Bemis. Picture: Keith Woodland

The Guide Award 2017 for Best Band presented by Geoff Priestley from The Wedgewood Rooms went to Bemis. Picture: Keith Woodland

The News’s editor Mark Waldron added: ‘The Guide Awards night is always a great night, and it’s wonderful to be a part of an event that shines a light on the many talented people we have in the region. 

‘But before we can get there we need everyone to get voting. Thousands of votes were cast across the board last year, so we want to see everyone get behind their favourites and support your local arts community.

‘We do our best to pick the most worthy nominees each year, but we’re not perfect. If you think there’s someone or something we’ve missed out, let us know through the Readers’ Choice option at the end of every category.

‘We look forward to seeing you there in the new year.’

Members of the audience cheer on a winner. Picture: Keith Woodland

Members of the audience cheer on a winner. Picture: Keith Woodland

The awards for 2018 take place at The New Theatre Royal in the city centre on Monday, January 28, 2019, where all the winners will be announced, plus there will be some great entertainment.

And we’ll also soon be inviting you to apply for free tickets for the event – it’s open to all.

So make sure you have your say before voting closes at midnight on Sunday, December 30.

To vote click here.

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THE GUIDE AWARDS 2018 NOMINATIONS IN FULL

Lily Garland accepts her Best Solo Act 2017 award from BH Live. Picture: Keith Woodland

Lily Garland accepts her Best Solo Act 2017 award from BH Live. Picture: Keith Woodland

A. BEST COMEDY sponsored by Portsmouth Cultural Trust

1. Sunjai Arif:  Took a well-reviewed show Stranger Things to the Edinburgh Fringe with Nathan Eagle

2. Hetty Austin: Part of the Boutique Comedy Club team along with Sunjai Arif and Joe Wells, and also building a good reputation on the gigging circuit

3. Dan Churchley: ‘Hampshire’s Houdini’, magician and behind the Solent Comedy nights

4. Mike Cox: Packs in the gigs nationwide, and also hosts the Funny People Comedy Club nights

5. Nathan Eagle: The other half of the Stranger Things popular Edinburgh Fringe pairing

6. Michael Frankland: South Coast Comedian of The Year finalist 2017 and MC at the Dolphin Comedy night

7. The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue: Scene veterans and one of the highlights of the new Big Mouth Comedy Festival

8. Matt Roseblade: MC’s the grassroots Fat Fox Comedy Club, and also behind the Puns and Roses nights at The Rose in June

9. Joe Wells: Took his I Hope I Die Before I Start Voting Conservative to Brighton Fringe, and is already previewing his 2019 show, Marilyn and Me

10 Readers’ Choice


B. BEST DJ sponsored by The Astoria Night Club

1. Wheats: Signed to Toolroom Records, he’s had extensive support for his music including from Calvin Harris with his release Kassia

2. Le Fish (Lee Fisher): One quarter of Monkey Love Stunt Team, he performed on Victorious’s main stage, and completed a marathon 50 -hour DJ  set for mental health charities

3. DJ Banksy: Supported Goldie, LTJ  Bukem and Shy FX, runs Banksy and Dunn’s Radio show, the largest drum and bass show in the region  

4. Soul  Divide: Hosted  Mutiny, supported Solardo and  Camelphat at their own Love Amplified raves, and also  played Ministry of Sound London this year

5. Monty Ozanne: Performed at Mutiny, supported Camelphat, Solardo, Darkzy and is a Zeal Movement resident DJ, often playing around the city

6. Will Chump: Played at Victorious, and has guided the alternative club night, Delight, to 18 successful years

7. RJM: Supported Goldie, Roni Size, supported on Goat Shed  (Southampton) and runs OHM Drum and Bass

8. DJ  MB: This newcomer is only 18 and supported Goldie and Roni Size for Beats and  Swing

9. Stanley Hood: Performed at Mutiny, supported Norman Jay, he’s a Zeal resident DJ and  has played consistently in Portsmouth

10. Readers’ Choice


C. BEST BAND sponsored by The Wedgewood Rooms

1. Arcade Hearts: Demonstrated true DIY spirit as they released their debut EP and sold out The Wedge

2. The Collision: Completed a 14-date national autumn tour to plug new single Runaway

3. Dutch Criminal Record: Released the strong Waiting For The Weekend with a packed show at The Wedge

4. Fake Empire: The trio have been making an impression everywhere they play since forming just over a year ago

5. Melt Dunes: The psych-rock warriors undertook their first European tour and continued to make an impression on the UK scene

6. Omar Baba: The Asian hip-hop act bring some welcome diversity in more ways than one and a dose of humour to the scene

7. Seething Akira: The electro-metallers put out critically acclaimed debut album Sleepy Skeletor and toured widely

8. Shoot the Duke: Built on their reputation as a live act with their busiest festival season so far, and put out the single Cash

9. Torpedoes: The veteran goth-punks released the ambitious and well-received double album Black Museum and played a string of packed live shows

10. Readers’ Choice

D. BEST SOLO ACT sponsored by BH Live

1. Bella Estelle: New single Crazy in Love showcases her songwriting talents with support from BBC Introducing and Express FM

2. Matt English: The only solo act to make the final of this year’s Wedgewood Rooms Unsigned Showcase

3. Fugitive Orchestra: This captivating performer played his first US shows this year, and put out the Rules of the Riddle EP late last year

4. DevinJade: Gigged loads - scored a support with Luke ‘Nizlopi’ Concannon - and a local favourite

5. Jamin: Put out a brace of fine singles, Cruella De Ville and Heather Blues, highlighting showing off different sides of this singer-songwriter

6. Megan Linford: Hard at work in the studio on new material she has also co-launched the Future Folk acoustic and spoken word nights

7. El Morgan: As well as a solo act and with her own band The Divers, El is also part of several other projects and an active booster of the scene

8. Parv: The hip-hop act helped spread the word Squinny to the masses with his single of the same name, and has gained support from BBC Introducing and 1Xtra

9. Remedysounds: Headlined the Mayfield Stage at Victorious and proved his songwriting is as sharp as ever on new song The Round Earth Theory

10. Readers’ Choice


E. BEST FESTIVAL sponsored by Victorious Festival

1. Big Mouth Comedy Festival: The inaugural event at Portsmouth Guildhall drew the crowds with its mix of marquee names and local talent

2. Cheese Fest: Switching from a paid indoor event to a free weekend on Castle Field, Southsea, meant a bonanza for cheese-lovers

3. Dials Festival: A welcome return for the multi-venue event in Southsea focusing on the best in new music

4. Icebreaker: Staged more than 100 acts across a dozen stages in Southsea as it expanded to two days for the first time

5. Journeys Festival International: Celebrating the refugee and immigrant communities, this was its third year in the city

6. Kite Festival: Participants came from across the world to Southsea Common take part in what is now one of the biggest events of its kind in the world

7. Oktoberfest: Moving down to Castle Field from the city centre for the first time didn’t deter those hankering for a drop of Bavarian fun

8. Portsmouth Festivities: Taking ‘freedom’ as its theme, there were dozens of events, concerts, talks, screenings and more in the annual arts bonanza

9. Wickham Festival: Steve Harley, Squeeze, Kate Rusby and Richard Thompson were among the stars of this year’s festival

10. Readers’ Choice

F. BEST PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTION sponsored by The New Theatre Royal

1. Cock at Chichester Festival Theatre: A gay man is torn when he falls for a woman

2. Mamma Mia at The Kings Theatre, Southsea: The unstoppable musical based on the music of Abba

3. Me and My Girl at CFT: A cheeky Cockney, played here by Matt Lucas is lifted to aristocracy

4. Sunset Boulevard at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton: Ria Jones, who originated the role of Norma Desmond, leads the way in this Hollywood noir

5. The Play That Goes Wrong at The Kings: The farce that opened the doors for the Mischief Theatre Company

6. The Sign of Four at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth: A new adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story

7. The Watsons at CFT: Things take an unexpected turn in this imagining of how Jane Austen’s unfinished novel could be completed

8. Titanic at Mayflower: Not an adaptation of the film of the fateful journey – this musical is a hit in its own right

9. War Horse at Mayflower: Michael Morpurgo’s First World War-set modern classic, featuring life-sized horse puppets

10. Readers’ Choice


G. BEST AMATEUR PRODUCTION sponsored by The Gaiety Bar

1. Constellations by Bench at The Spring Arts Theatre, Havant: Bees, cosmology and quantum mechanics in this tricky two-hander

2. Dracula by HumDrum at The Spring: Breathing new life into the Bram Stoker horror classic

3. Harvey by HumDrum at The Spring: A comedy about an invisible 6ft 3in rabbit and the nature of sanity

4 Hedda Gabler by Bench at The Spring: Tackling one of the all-time greats in Ibsen’s play

5. One Man, Two Guvnors by HumDrum at The Spring: Knockabout farce in the show that slayed the West End

6. Precious Little Talent, by Bench at The Spring: A privileged young woman is forced to face some home truths

7. Rabbit Hole by CCADS at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth: The Pulitzer-prize winning drama about surviving loss.

8. The Tempest by SSA, Station Theatre, Hayling Island: Shakespeare’s final play is given a gender-twist

9. Waiting For Godot, by DeltaHead, at the Square Tower: A novel take on Beckett’s masterpiece that made good use of its venue

10. Readers’ Choice


H. BEST AMATEUR MUSICAL sponsored by The Kings Theatre

1. Carousel, by SDMS at Ferneham Hall, Fareham: The Rodgers & Hammerstein-penned show that spawned You’ll Never Walk Alone

2. Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, by CCADS at The Kings Theatre, Southsea: An ambitious take on the musical based on the film of the lovable car in its 50th anniversary year

3. The Full Monty, by Portsmouth Players at The Kings: The show that asks its male leads if they’ll dare to bare

4. Grease, by Fareham Musical Society at Ferneham Hall: The evergreen story of love across the divide at a 1950s’ American high school

5. Hairspray at Titchfield Festival Theatre: Following Tracy Turnblad’s bid for fame against a backdrop of Civil Rights-era America

6. 9 to 5, by Portsmouth Grammar School at The Kings: The Dolly Parton vehicle becomes a story of female empowerment

7. Priscilla Queen of The Desert, by Portsmouth Players at The Kings: The musical that brought LGBT issues to The Outback

8. The Producers, by SDMS at Ferneham Hall: The Mel Brooks’ satire asking if the world is ready for Springtime For Hitler

9. Thoroughly Modern Millie, by SDMS at Ferneham Hall: The 1920s-set story of Millie who flees small-town Kansas for New York
10. Readers’ Choice


I. BEST AMATEUR ACTOR

1. Vincent Adams as Lucky in Waiting for Godot by DeltaHead

2. Ben Counter as Elwood in Harvey and Renfield in Dracula by HumDrum

3. Nick Downes as Estragon, in Waiting For Godot by DeltaHead

4. Stuart Frank as Danny Zuko in Grease, by FMS

5. Darren Gilmore as Francis Henshall in One Man, Two Guvnors, by HumDrum

6. Jonathan Grant as The Count in Dracula by HumDrum

7. Tony Johnson as the Child Catcher in Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang by CCADS

8. Stuart Reilly as Roland in Constellations by Bench

9. Andrew Warner as Bernadette in Priscilla Queen of The Desert by Portsmouth Players

10. Readers’ Choice

J. BEST AMATEUR ACTRESS

1. Sarah Ash as Prospera in The Tempest by SSA

2. Rhian Gardner in Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, by CCADS

3. Claire Plumridge as Rizzo, in Grease by FMS

4. Leila Millson as Lucy in Dracula and Ruth Kelly in One Man, Two Guvnors by HumDrum

5. Becky Musgrave as Julie in Carousel by SDMS

6. Susie Rowland as Ariel, in The Tempest, by SSA

7. Gemma Valler as Mina in Dracula, by HumDrum

8. Katie Watson as Hedda in Hedda Gabler by Bench

9. Faye Williams as Marianne in Constellations, by Bench

10. Readers’ Choice

K. BEST CLASSICAL

1. Beechwood Opera for the Marriage of Figaro at the New Theatre Royal. A young, entrepreneurial, ambitious, local, opera company producing exciting performances

2. Colin Jagger of University of Portsmouth for his 15 years of bringing class acts to the Portsmouth Chamber Music series

3. The Kalore Trio ‘for their exquisite music, beautifully played; the outcome of which was a truly memorable Sunday afternoon in Holy Trinity Gosport’

4. Meon Valley Orchestra, the area’s newest large ensemble which has gone from from a handful of folk musicians to a full-blown orchestra of 45 players. Their charity concerts have raised nearly £8,000

5.The Petersfield Orchestra, ‘a class act whose sound was clear and resonant, with energetic and accomplished playing’

6. Portsmouth Choral Union for their performance of Vaughan Williams’ titanic Sea Symphony in a memorable concert from ‘a well-schooled group of talented singers’

7. Portsmouth Grammar School’s Chamber Choir which performed with the internationally famous Tallis Scholars. They sang with accuracy and panache, unawed by their professional neighbours

8. The Renaissance Choir for their imaginative programming and their vocal blend. ‘Their excellent sound seems as if it comes from a single person’

9. Solent Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Saint-Saens' organ symphony. ‘An orchestra whose skill and performing eloquence is equal to much larger and better known ensembles’

10. Readers’ choice

L. BEST VISUAL ARTIST Sponsored by Aspex Gallery

1 Caravan Gallery: A Portsmouth institution since 2000, The Caravan Gallery (artists Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale) are members of studio group Art Space Portsmouth.  This last year they worked in Texas, Latvia, Northern Ireland, Scotland and locally at the National Trust site Mottisfont in Hampshire
2. Miesje Chafer: Maker of hand screen-printed and crafted products including bags and homeware, which can be bought from her Hotwalls Studio or stockists in the city and beyond
3.Jeannie Driver: Recent work plays with the boundaries between drawing and sculpture. She’s produced ambitious wall drawings in London and Stroud, received an award from Arts Council England to develop her practice, and is a member of Art Space Portsmouth
4. Anna Heinrich & Leon Palmer: Portsmouth-based artists with significant international profile, alongside major projects in Hull and Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, they were commissioned to make a new digital work by students of Havant and South Downs College as part of their How to Speak Proper Pompey project, shown at Aspex Autumn 2018
5. Jacqui Mair: A well-established Portsmouth-based illustrator, her new body of work was recently shown in Drawing With Scissors at Jack House Gallery in Old Portmsouth
6. Svetlana Ochkovskaya: Awarded the Journeys Festival International LOOK UP commission in October 2018
7.Clarke Reynolds: Participant in the Losing My Sight exhibition at the Central Library, recent artist in residence at Aspex and increasingly in demand for talks across the UK about maintaining and developing his visual art practice while losing his sight
8. Josephine Rock: Winner of the Platform Graduate Award 2018 for a recent graduate from a university in the south-east

9. Samo: An artist, tattooist and owner of independent Play Dead Studio in Southsea. A trans activist and tireless advocate for inclusion and creativity, he has explored the experience of his recent top surgery through his own art and collaborations with the local artistic community

10. Readers’ Choice