The West Otago Theatrical Society was formed in Tapanui in 1982, performing it’s first show in the old Town Hall, on the site of the present West Otago Community Centre which houses our theatre today. Through fund raising, we have transformed it into a venue suitable for any event - the theatre is complete with a green room and seating enough for 204 people.
Membership is open to all ages and all sectors of the community. Total membership usually varies between sixty and eighty people. We also have a major production every year.
Receiving the outstanding individual achievement award was a nice surprise for Mark MacKenzie.
The award was announced at the Otago Southland Theatre Awards (Ostas) on Saturday night, but Mr MacKenzie was not able to be there.
The award was for his debut as director of last year’s West Otago Theatrical Society production We Will Remember Them.
Mr MacKenzie, of Waipahi, was nominated for the award by the society.
He said the production came together and was a team effort.
‘‘It was very much a team effort from everyone. I think everyone in the cast had a relative that was in the war,’’ Mr MacKenzie said.
Each character in the production got the chance to play a soldier who fought in the war.
The show played for four nights. The first was a private show for the families of the soldiers who featured in the production, and the other three nights were open to the public.
Mr MacKenzie said it was a very ‘‘emotional’’ and ‘‘challenging’’ production for both the cast and audience.
‘‘It was very interesting and rewarding to meet the families and pull it all together for [them] and remember World War 1,’’ he said.
The soldiers featured were Arthur James Gordon, Herbert James Hay, Robert Alexander Hay and Ronald Hugh Nicol, among others.
We Will Remember Them was on stage in July last year.
Mr MacKenzie has been with the West Otago Theatrical Society for 15 years.
He has been an actor, a music producer and is a committee member. His first show was Jesus Christ Superstar in 2000.
Ostas chairman Doug Kamo said Mr MacKenzie was up against two other nominees from Queenstown and Cromwell for the award.
The award included $500 towards attending the Musical Theatre New Zealand National Conference in Rotorua this month and covers registration, travel and accommodation.
About 300 people were expected to attend.
Debut award . .. Mark MacKenzie received the outstanding individ› ual achievement award for his directorial debut of the West Otago Theatrical Society’s show We Will Remember Them.
PHOTO: AMANDA CARRINGTON