Awards for Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre

THERE was a top double for management at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre this week, as they landed national accolades.

Staff from the Edwardian venue were honoured at one of the theatre industry's most prestigious awards ceremonies.

Celebrating success, Marina manager Martin Halliday was named as theatre manager of the year and the venue's senior technician, Karl Dunnett, won Gaffer Of The Year – which was presented for achievements in technical operation.

The annual Encore Magazine awards – a specialist industry publication – was held in London last week as a star studded gala took place in association with the Grand Order of Water Rats and the Roy Castle Fund.

The event also saw legendary singers Buddy Greco and Marty Wilde and actor Nicholas Parsons receive Lifetime Achievement Awards.

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And in a further coup for the Marina, its pantomime producer, Paul Holman Associates, received the award for theatre producer of the year.

Nominations for the awards come mostly from within the theatre industry and are voted for by agents, artistes and managers.

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Mr Halliday received his award from American singer Lezlie Anders.

Speaking after the ceremony, he said: 'I was absolutely delighted just to be nominated for such a prestigious award and to win was a terrific surprise.

'What makes it so special is that these awards are mostly nominated and voted for from within the theatre industry.'

This is the third consecutive year that the Marina has been nominated, with Martin coming runner-up in his category for the past two years.

The venue also received the technical award in 2009.

Mr Dunnett said: 'It is a great honour to have been recognised for my role at the Marina.

'I would also like to thank my team of technicians for their ongoing support.'

This week, the Lowestoft community expressed their delight at the excellent achievements.

Speaking on behalf of Lowestoft Town Management Partnership, Emma King, Lowestoft town centre manager, said: 'Martin's never ending enthusiasm and passion for the theatre has made the Marina the vibrant heart of Lowestoft town centre.

'Martin works with such dedication and commitment and is a valued and highly respected member of the Lowestoft Town Management Partnership. Martin has brought events, shows, musicals, comedians and more to the Marina that Lowestoft never dreamt they would see in their town.

'He works tirelessly to promote both the theatre and the town as one and has built up strong working relationships with all the local retailers in Lowestoft,' she added.

'His energy is boundless and his devotion to the theatre contagious. We are extremely lucky in Lowestoft to have such a keen and animated manager running our theatre and contributing daily to the promotion of our town centre and helping to continue to raise both the profile and footfall through both theatre and cinema.

'Martin is definitely our 'Theatre Manager of the Year.''

Echoing these sentiments, Mike Pinner, vice-chairman of the Friends of the Theatre, said: 'The Friends are delighted to see key members of the Marina team recognised nationally.

'It underlines the special nature of the teamwork that makes the theatre successful. Both Martin and Karl have worked tirelessly for the theatre and, whilst Martin is well known and appreciated by all of those who use the theatre, Karl is the unseen smiling face behind much of the technical work that brings success to the performances.

'He richly deserves recognition,' Mr Pinner added.

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