Sunday, September 24, 2023


THE NEWCASTLE Glees are brimming with excitement after receiving three nominations for the NODA awards, which were announced last week.

The group was nominated for Outstanding Show for their performance of ‘Made in Dagenham’, while Orla Russell and Allen Gordon received nominations in the Outstanding Performance category for their portrayals of Rita O’Grady and Eddie O’Grady respectively.

The winners will be announced on June 18.

Allen told the Mourne Observer: “It is fantastic for the company. It was put into the Facebook group and the reaction was insane. We are absolutely delighted with it.”

NODA is a national body that represents amateur theatre. It was founded over 100 years ago to protect and advance the interests of operatic and dramatic art.

Part of their efforts to support and champion local theatre involves running annual awards ceremonies, which celebrate the work of theatres across England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They have representatives who oversee the different areas and they attend performances and adjudicate on them.

On Tuesday of last week the chairperson of the Newcastle Glees, Emma Nugent, was informed of the Newcastle Glees’ three nominations. She passed on the good news to the group.

Allen said the award is a recognition of the hard work put in by the Glees. “We are not based in Belfast,” he added. “We don’t have a massive company. We don’t have a massive catchment area, but it goes to show that the Glees have got talent, and a lot of young talent coming up through the group.

“It shows the whole company’s dedication. Everyone worked their socks off for that show.

“There is a fantastic production team in behind it. Without them you don’t have a show. Hats off to Laura Kerr (director), Mark Tilley (musical director) and Clare Donnelly (choreographer) for all the work that they did.”

Nominations and awards are not a new thing for the Glees. “We have had quite a few nominations and quite a few winners down the years which is quite nice,” Allen said. However, the nomination for Outstanding Performance that Allen received was his first. He said it was a surprise to hear the news. “I was quite shocked to be honest. I wasn’t expecting anything like that at all. “I had actually completely forgot about the nominations side of things. I was straight out of ‘Made in Dagenham’, I had a month off.

Then I ended up getting the lead role in ‘The Addams Family’ with St Agnes Choral Society in Belfast which will be in the Grand Opera House. So, I haven’t even had time to think. “It is that bit of validation for all the work that you did. You feel that it paid off. “It is nice to get a standing ovation but to be nominated for an award is a privilege.”

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 18 June in Hereford. Unfortunately none of the Glees group will be in attendance because that event clashes with the AIMS (Association of Irish Musical Societies) awards which take place in Killarney on the same weekend. AIMS’ awards are for dramatic societies based in Ireland.

Their awards nominations are announced later in the year, and while the Glees do not know if they will be nominated, they always attend the AIMS awards so they will be in Killarney on that weekend. Winning at either the AIM or the NODA awards would be a great boost for the Glees.

As Allen said: “It is nice to have awards on shelves to show the hard work is paying off and the company can stand on its own two feet and the group are a talented bunch of people.” Win or lose, the Glees believe that the performance of ‘Made in Dagenham’ was a resounding success.

“The feedback for ‘Made in Dagenham’ was out of this world. The Glees are on an upward trajectory at the minute, especially with their choice of shows. They are not afraid to do things that have not been done before. They are not afraid to push the boundary, to do new shows.

They are not just sticking to the same old stuff. That is refreshing and really nice. “You want to keep the crowds guessing. Our job, if you want to put it that way, is to entertain and that is the best part of it. Having something new and fresh to deliver is lovely.” The Glees will be announcing their next show in the spring. Keep an eye on their social media for the big reveal.

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