That Bloody Woman recognised with awards haul

A sizeable portion of Musical Theatre Oamaru members turned out at the Otago Southland Theatre Awards at the weekend, and won five categories for "That Bloody Woman". Photo: Supplied

The pride far outweighs the stress and grey hairs that 2023 brought her, Musical Theatre Ōamaru (MTO) president Melissa Yockney says, after receiving five awards at the weekend.

On Saturday night, the Otago Southland Theatre Awards (OSTAs) were held in Ōamaru, with the spotlight fully on November’s production of That Bloody Woman.

About 50 of the MTO cast and crew were in a crowd of 240, from across Otago and Southland, who gathered to celebrate the 10th annual OSTAs.

Melissa said even just receiving 18 nominations for the two major shows MTO produced last year, was “awesome”, but to win was the “icing on the cake”.

That Bloody Woman was nominated for eleven awards, and School of Rock for seven, but in the end it was the punk rock musical about New Zealand women earning the right to vote, which hit the right note with the judges, winning the coveted Best Overall Production award.

Lead Krissy McGeown, who was faultless as women's rights activist Kate Sheppard, was rewarded with Best Lead Female in a Musical.

Andrew Potvin won Best Director, Alan Rakiraki won Best Musical Direction, and the show also won Best Lighting and Visual Augmentation.

In her acceptance speech on the night, Melissa thanked the MTO “family” for an amazing year.

“Stressed does not begin to cover how I felt all year, but being proud of what we achieved far outweighs that stress, and makes up for the many grey hairs I gained,” she said.

“This show was something pretty damn special. I’m pretty sure Kate would be as proud of how we told her story as I am.”

Melissa said when the MTO received its nominations in December for both of its 2023 productions everyone was “absolutely delighted”. It was the first time the organisation had put a major show on stage since Mamma Mia in 2018. 

“To then receive five awards, including the big ones . . . was just the icing on the cake of a very big, but very rewarding year for Musical Theatre Oamaru.” 

Knowing the awards were chosen by judges who follow strict marking criteria and “know” theatre, made them even more special, she said.

“They live and breathe it, and travel thousands of kilometres around our zone to attend all the shows, and it's an honour to receive these awards from them. 

“There is such a high calibre of talent in the Otago/Southland region, and as a small town we punch well above our weight,” she said.

As well as to everyone who had been involved in both School of Rock and That Bloody Woman, Melissa also offered a “huge thank you” to the people who attended the productions. 

“We literally couldn't do it if it weren't for the support of the attendees.” 

If you want to see a number of the performers from That Bloody Woman back on stage at the Ōamaru Opera House, tickets for Broadway on Thames - a concert of popular Broadway songs - are now available.

The show runs for two nights, starting on Saturday, March 2. Tickets can be purchased from the Oamaru Opera House box office or online.

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