Troupers put on their finest performance yet as they vie to be voted the main attraction of them all, writes Sharu Delilkan.
Howick Little Theatre has reason to celebrate. The company is a finalist in the tourism and hospitality category of the Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards. It is up against International Travel College of New Zealand and the Republic Bar and Kitchen.
The theatre's troupers are understandably excited.
"Just being a finalist is a feather in our cap, especially since it's the first time we've applied. I understand it's rare to reach the finals the first time round,'' says marketing
and administration manager, Kathy Bigwood.
"We figure we're definitely running a business now, which started out as a hobby.''
Rosemary Stanton, who joined the then fairly new company in 1954 as a 19-year-old, says she is chuffed at the recognition for the theatre.
"So many people put so much effort in. They deserve it for working so hard,'' she says. "There were about 20 members and now there are almost 140.''
She credits the theatre's founder, the late Alma Woods, an actress well-known on New Zealand television in the 60s and 70s, for her foresight in starting the company.
"I can remember when we used to meet at the Howick Town Hall where all the members took all the parts in every production. And everybody mucked in doing everything: building the stage, the scenes and the backstage work.''
The proud lifetime member says the company's recent nomination is a great endorsement of the huge commitment that people make voluntarily.
Bigwood agrees. "It would be fantastic if we won. It will totally validate what we do every day.
"And, hopefully, it will put more bums on seats.''
Winners will be announced at Westpac Manukau Business Excellence Awards Gala Dinner, TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, Manukau, September 18, 6pm.
Tickets, see: www.bizawards.co.nz