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Williamson Award

Rosie Juby for outstanding effort of a young person in a musical - Judy White and the Seven Dwarfs

The Kirsti Award

Jan Paton for portrayal of Molly in  Number Five Birdwell Road

The Kirsti Award

Ewan Grant-Mackie was only the second person to receive the Kirsti Award for brilliant charcaterisation of Doug, the lead (and an extremely challenging role) in an original play by Krissy Walton, Legacy.

This ornery old man that Ewan portrayed perfectly was so far from his own persona and he had to sell some dialogue that went completely against his own beliefs in order to be true to the character - who didn't have many redeeming traits. 

Kirsti would have been as proud as we all were of the performance.



In memory of our beloved MAD family member that passed so suddenly at the beginning of rehearsals, the Grant-Mackie family (from left to right Huia, Ewan, Emily & Lucas) have gifted a new Trophy to Thames Music And Drama.  'The Kirsti' is to be awarded to any adult in a play or musical that truly embodies their character.  This is what Kirsti was most known for.  She was a brilliant character actor and every one of them was unique.

The first recipient of 'The Kirsti' was Asha Peppiatt for her portrayal of 'Tanya' in Mamma Mia!  Asha committed wholly to this role, bringing along her own props, practising in heels, providing much of her own costuming and accessories and really going for it as the man eating, high maintenance best friend of Donna. Congratulations!   

In return MAD presented the family with a scrap book (held by Huia) of fond memories, thoughts, images of Kirsti's time in theatre in Thames. This was a very special moment for everyone.

The Kirsti Award





Oklahoma Trophy 

Jo Haakma, was awarded the Oklahoma Trophy for an outstanding effort (going above and beyond) in her role as Musical Director.  Jo spent many, many, many hours, often in the middle of the night when it was quietest, recording several instruments and individual parts for each song. Many had up to 6 part harmonies under the melodies and lead's parts.  She would record them all separately so everyone could learn their part first, then splice them together .  I know that the singers were very grateful for these tracks.  Turns out that while we all love to just sing along to the pop songs, Benny & Bjorn are actually very complex song writing and it took a lot of work for our cast,  and patience and encouragement from our MD to ensure these numbers sounded as amazing as they did. 


Williamson Family Trophy 

The Williamson Family Youth Trophy was awarded to Sophia Haakma, who at just 10 years old made the huge committment to play violin in the band.  She not only had to learn about 25 songs, but handled the hours and the pressure of working in an adult environment.  The violin was key to many of the most loved of ABBA's hits. You could say she was instrumental to the tone and the emotion of the music (see what I did there ).

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Williamson Family Trophy 

The Williamson Family Trophy for an outstanding effort by a young person in a musical production, was presented to two deserving young ladies for their parts in  Peter Pan and the medallion's Secret - Elise Floan (Pan ) and Elliott Dent (Sarah).  This show had a cast of 47 and 35 of them were young people, including most of the lead roles.  Both young ladies were very new to MAD and theatre in general, however their committment to learn and improve their skills certainly showed in the standard of performance they delivered.  Elliott was always ready to help anyone, while Elise took time to help build the confidence of even younger members of the cast.  Very proud of these two.

Williamson Family Trophy 

The Williamson Family Trophy for an outstanding effort by a young person in a musical production, was presented to two deserving young ladies for their parts in Around the World in 80 Days - Harriet Marshall and Maddy Midwinter.  Awesome effort! Maddy lead a wonderful song in full on indian accent, while Harriet lent her voice backstage to most songs.  We actually had a great team of young people in this show who all did us proud.

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Neems Family Trophy (Oklahoma Award)

We are probably not  exaggerating when we say that 'Around the World in 80 Days' would not have been able to be staged without the amazing committment made by Martin Rodley.  He worked hours/days/weeks behind the scenes (often when everyone else had gone home) to ensure that we had a set and venue that not only looked great but was safe.  He was such an awesome problem solver and was always ready to go above and beyond to make the show even better.  His 'snow' was a delight to the audience and cast members.   And he even managed to take on two smaller roles on stage - and delivered one of the best lines in the show.  

Williamson Family Trophy 

At the end of 2017, we staged a locally written playsical "Survivor - Camping on the Coromandel".  This was a strong youth production with not only all the cast members aged between 6 and 13 years old, but also the first time director - Samantha Connors - was only 20 at the time.  There was so much talent in this cast so it was a tough decision.  However the award was finally given to Kaiya Bradley. Kaiya played a great leading role and held her own with both a solo and duet.  She was also very generous with her time in helping many of the the other cast members. Well deserved!  


Williamson Family Trophy 

The Williamson Family Trophy was created from some bequeth money from Ian & Alison Williamson.  Ian was a musical director for many shows for us over the years and particularly enjoyed encouraging youth people.  Therefore this award is to recognise an outstanding effort for a young person in a musical production.  We are so pleased to announce the first recipient of this award is Maxwell Rodley.  Max played the role of Lefou in Beauty and The Beast.  While his performance was incredible, and his character very popular with the audience, it was his committment to the show in general and his great desire to be the best Lefou he could possibly be.  Max continually asked for feedback from the director to improve his perfromance; he learned all his lines early (and just about everyone elses as well); and he worked hard at his vocals that produced a great result as lead on his songs.   But it was his absolutely outstanding effort on stage at all times that won him the award.  Max could be exhausted or down but as soon as he was needed to perform, whether at rehearsals or for the actual shows he always gave 120%.  Outstanding effort Maxwell!  

Neems Family Trophy (Oklahoma Award)

The Neems Family Trophy is awarded by the Thames Music And Drama Committee to person(s) that they believe went above and beyond for a production.   Emily Bisset certainly certainly did that for our production of Disney's Beauty and The Beast.  Not only did she step up to co-direct for the very first time, but she also acted as vocal coach for the soloist; choreography for all the big ensemble numberss (and it ain't easy planning moves for tea-pots, plates and clocks); designed, filmed, acted in and edited the Prologue (Whew! I know right and it was an amazing opening); and also spent hours trying to get the right look for the Beast's head dress (that didn't give him massive head aches or break during combat scenes).   Emily's endless energy and good spirit meant she was all over most aspects of this production - her creative touch could be seen everywhere.  While everyone works hard on our shows - both cast and crew were elated to acknowledge Emily's enormous contribution this way.

Musical Theatre New Zealand Merit Award 

At the 2017 Musical Theatre New Zaland Conference our own Judy Thomas was bestowed a national Merit Award for services to Musical Theatre in New Zealand. Judy’s first involvement with the society currently known as Thames Music And Drama (formerly Thames Operatic Society, then Thames Musical Theatre) began in 1994 in “Oliver”, where she was persuaded to step out from being a taxi for her kids and join them on stage. She then performed in a small variety show singing “The Good Ship Lollipop”. Those first timid steps onto our stage grew to her lead role as Narrator in “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, as well as being a Christmas Fairy, a gangster’s mole (Anything Goes), a Baroness (Sound Of Music), Mayor (Wizard Of Oz), along with a large number of other roles, both large and small. In a case of art imitating life, she played a committee member of a community theatre group in our 50th anniversary production of “Show Must Go On”.She quickly became involved in other aspects of theatre, joining the committee in 1996 (an involvement that still continues, making her our longest-serving committee member), and then becoming Vice-President in 2003 (a role she has only recently stepped down from). While on committee, she has done or continues to do – wardrobe coordinator, props, catering, Front Of House, Publicity, rat-bait dispenser and carcase remover, as well as being the quiet voice of reason and experience when we get carried away with ideas. Her efforts within the society were recognised when she was given Life Membership in 2012.Judy quietly gets on with whatever needs doing, and without any fuss or bother.  It would not be an understatement to suggest that our society would probably struggle to survive without her efforts.


Musical Theatre New Zealand Merit Award 

Ewan Grant - Mackie was honoured with a MTNZ Merit Award for 27 years service to theatre. Ewan involvement with Thames started in 1988 in the orchestra pit for 'The King & I'. He moved up to Musical Director for 'Grease"'the next year because he had the neccessary attributes - he was young and could read music. He could see how much fun those on stage were having and first gave it a go in 'Fiddler on the Roof'.  

Since then he has appeared in numerous productions, notable leads include Bill Sykes in 1994 Oliver' and Daddy Warbucks in 1996 'Annie' .   He is super talented - a great singer, musician, breaks out a fiddle at parties, can bust a move on the dance floor and has mastered some amazing acting skills. More recntly he has turned his hand to writing and directing.  Is there anything he can't do!  

Ewan took on a key leadership role in theatre when he became the society President in 2012. There seems little desire to change that so this is testament to the great job he does.  He met his now wife, Kirsti, in 1998 when they appeared in 'And so to bed' together. They have two teen daughters and all four all heavily involved in theatre.  Juggling work, family and theatre can be a struggle but Ewan has alsway done it with a smile on his face.  In 2013, to celebrate 50 years of musical theatre in Thames, 'Show Must Go On' was staged with the whole family appearing on stage together for the first time.  

"Not only has musical theatre provided me with the opportunity to have fun, but it also provided me with a wife and family, with which I am able to share it"  


Coromandel Peninsula Youth Awards - Creative Expression

Our own Tina Haakma has taken out the inaugural Coromandel Youth Award for Creative Expression category, sponsored by Totally Thames.  This was in recognition of her voluntary work in the community, particularly in theatre and photography. Tina  was nominated by both the Thames Camera Club and Thames Music and Drama.

Tina is an A grade photographer and has been a committee member of the Thames Camera Club for the last number of years, and is currently vice president and wears the hat of specialist lighting technician for the club. She voluntarily puts together training evenings including creative and technical workshops, and photo shoots. Tina’s support has enhanced the standard of photography at the club.

Tina is also very much involved in musical theatre where she is an actor, musician, and singer on stage and where her lighting and sound technician skills come to life. Tina has been part of a wealth of stage productions over 2013-15 including The Show Must Go On, Tutus on Tour, You Must Remember This, Totally Thames’ NZ Corporate Battle of the Bands and Fashion Extravaganza’s, Mayhem and Melodium, Pohutukawa Festival Wearable arts Show and most recently Tribute to the Anzacs.

MTNZ Conference Awards - Best  Programme

The Jeanne Hall Memorial Single Sheet Programme competition for 2015 was taken out by Thames Music & Drama's programme for Music in Melodium.  This was designed by Tony from Arts Effects whose daughter was in the show.  It was modelled on a CD cover to reflect the theme of the production.  The judge was very complimentary about the layout, font style and size used and imagery.  

Musical Theatre New Zealand Merit Award 

NOELINE LOADER has been an almost continuously active member of the group that is now called Thames Music And Drama since she joined back in 1978 for “Salad Days”.  Not only was she prepared to share her wonderful singing voice on stage, she quickly became a valued part of the organisation when she came onto the committee in the vital role of “social convenor” the following year.  Apart from a brief break in the mid 1980’s, Noeline was a member of the committee for 25 years, during which time she was president for 6 years (the longest serving president the society has had).

She has also taken on directorial and choreography roles for numerous shows over the last thirty years, but none more important than the two society anniversary (40th and 50th) concerts in 2003 and 2013, where she researched, selected and directed the material that went into the shows.  Without her involvement, neither event would have been the wonderful showcase of our society that they were. 

Behind every good woman is a man, and Noeline has been prepared to share her husband (both on-stage and off) with the society; so much so that Bob recently received a life membership.  Their children have also been a large part of the society, playing a number of roles over the years, and we have more recently had the privilege of utilizing the talents of the grandchildren.  It was fantastic to see Noeline reprise her 1992 role of Mother Abbess (when her daughter played Liesl) in 2009, this time with another daughter on stage as well as her grand-daughter playing Liesl.

Noeline’s last involvement with Thames Music And Drama last year is an indication of her talents – not only did she take a role on stage for our Heritage Week production (which commemorated the centenary of World War One), she tackled the difficult job of researching and sourcing the music required.  However, Thames Music And Drama’s loss is Waihi’s gain, and we are incredibly grateful for her efforts over the years and proud of her achievement.



ETNZ Community Theatre Technical Achievement “YOUTH” award

William (Will) Smith joined our society for the 2008 production of “Oliver” as one of the orphans, along with his younger sister.  Although he has not been on stage since then, he developed an interest in the technical side of theatre with his involvement in shows and concerts at the local high school.  In this he was, and has continued to be mentored by technology teacher Michael Leger.

IN 2012, he became involved in the lighting area for our production of “Return To Wonderland” (where his mother played a standout role as a toothbrush!), and expressed a desire to develop his skills in this area of theatre.  We therefore supported him by having him as one of our participants in the lighting and sound workshop that was run by Dale Henderson in Tauranga earlier this year.  

Diane Connors, the director of our major production this year “Show Must Go On”, saw the interest and skills shown by this 17 year old, and asked him to be involved in the design of the lighting for the show.  Will agreed, and also expressed a willingness to assist with sound as well.  As a result, with Tina Haakma (the 2013 MTNZ Patron’s Encouragement Award recipient) guiding and supporting him, he organised the selection, hireage, maintenance and return of the sound and lighting equipment that was used for the show.  Given the complexity of the sound requirements for the show, the positive feedback from audiences regarding the quality of the sound is particularly encouraging, and is testament to both Will’s skills and the guidance and support he received.

It was fascinating to see Will get up in front of a large (50+) cast before each performance (and when warranted, half-time) to remind, warn, cajole and scold us about lighting and sound issues (e.g. “Please leave the body mikes SWITCHED ON!”).  What was especially pleasing was the friendly but firm way he spoke to people when he did so.  In carrying out these tasks, he was also able to generate some Level 3 NCEA credits in conjunction with his school.

Since then he has expressed the aim of a career in Event Management and Theatre, and has asked to be given the opportunity to be stage manager for our next major production in June 2014.  We have agreed to this (the director is also happy for him to do this, so long as he is also involved with the lighting and sound setup!).



Tina Haakma is young (20 years old) woman that has been involved in our society for about five years already. She has a very outgoing and personable  character, which means she is able to both listen to others and pass on ideas well. She has played, and continues to play, an incredibly important role in our society both on stage and off-stage and as a mentor; specifically:

  • as an actor, musician and singer onstage for Thames MAD,

  • as a “child wrangler” and mentor for younger children in Thames MAD productions,

  • as a Lighting and Sound technician (also props!) for Thames MAD productions,

  • as a mentor for local high school  students doing lighting/sound for their school production,

  • as a Lighting technician for visiting productions/events at the Thames Civic Centre, where she has had overall responsibility for the setting up, maintaining and dismantling of equipment

Tina as a participant in a directing workshop run in Hamilton earlier  this year, which indicates a desire to take on a more leadership role if given support.

She has beeen an active member of the Thames MAD Committee (for two years so far!) and has encouraged other young people onto the committee. As the technical expert on our committee, she plays an important role as the adviser regarding technical purchases, as well as being the link between the committee and the suppliers (our recent purchase of a new cyclorama was completed because of her). In her role as the lighting and sound technical advisor, we rely heavily on her knowledge and expertise.

As she has family in the area we hope that she will remain in Thames for some time, so that her skills will not be lost to the Society (which unfortunately is what usually happens).  She continually astonishes us with what she knows.


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