Bay Landscapes Nelson Fringe Virtual Festival Awards 2020

A note from Jennifer O’Sullivan​, Head Judge


On behalf of the entire judging panel I want to congratulate and thank everyone for their incredible work putting together the third iteration of the Nelson Fringe 2020. This year has thrown endless spanners at us all and whether you were able to present your work or not, we want to acknowledge the countless hours that you put in, the creativity you developed and presented, and the beautiful work which may not have seen the light of day but we know and you know exists in spirit. 


The judging panel watched as much of the Fringe as we could in the five days your work was online, and we now present to you our nominations and awards for 2020. We have not awarded all categories, and this is because several of the awards felt too difficult to judge fairly in the final iteration of the festival, watching a filmed version of art that is so often reliant on a live audience. In particular we have not awarded a Best of Fringe, and instead offer a list of Highly Commended works that we felt best embodied the variety, quality and overall Fringe-y-ness that Nelson Fringe has become known for. 


Thank you all again for your mahi, arohanui to those who could not take part, and congratulations to all nominees and winners. 


Outstanding Performer/s

Winner: Derek Doddington - Elusive

Also Nominated

Roger Lusby & Rebecca Myers - A Pair of Poets

Ren Lunicke - SHE + THEY

Rebecca Myers - St. Brigid's Eve


Most Promising Emerging Talent

Winner: Monica Pausina & Kate Shaw

Also Nominated

Youth Ensemble - City Life of Cats

Vaughan Birss - St. Brigid's Eve

Monica Pausina - Attenborough's Question

Monica Pausina & Kate Shaw -  St. Brigid's Eve


Best Ensemble

Winner: The Cell by Wintergreen Creative

Also Nominated

City Life of Cats by Cre8 Theatre Co.

Trio Jackson

SHE + THEY by Zir Productions

The Magic in Me by Kath Bee & Ms. Fizzberry


Best Script

Winner: A Pair of Poets by Roger Lusby & Rebecca Myers

Also Nominated

The Cell by Wintergreen Creative

Elusive by Cat House Films

Waste Not Want Not: Bethany's Guide to the Thrift Life by Bethany Miller


Best Design

Winner: Kaguya-Hime: The Princess of the Moon by Koru Sakura Theatre Group

Also Nominated

What's The Purpose of This Project by Potentially Playing Productions

The Boy with Wings by Birdlife Productions

Waste Not Want Not: Bethany's Guide to the Thrift Life by Bethany Miller

Venetian Obscura by Get Frocked


Bay Landscapes Most Original Concept

Winner: What's the Purpose of This Project by Potentially Playing Productions

Also Nominated

The Cell by Wintergreen Creative

Venetian Obscura by Get Frocked

Level Heads: A Flat Earth Podcast by Gerald Allen Yelson-Samuels


Best Kids' Show

Winner: The Magic in Me by Kath Bee & Ms. Fizzberry

Also Nominated

Fireflight! by Wakefield School

Kaguya-Hime: The Princess of the Moon by Koru Sakura Theatre Group

The Boy with Wings by Birdlife Productions

Best Solo Show

Winner: The Cool Mum by Jo Ghastly

Also Nominated

BLUE Experience by Sophie Ricketts

Waste Not Want Not: Bethany's Guide to the Thrift Life by Bethany Miller


Best Comedy

Winner: Nostalgia by Dan Allan, Laura Irish and Jonathan Moffat

Also Nominated

Ironing Man by Mark Darbyshire

The Cool Mum by Jo Ghastly


Nelson Fringe 2020 Highly Commended

A Pair of Poets



BLUE Experience



Audience Favourite

Winner: The Cool Mum by Jo Ghastly

First Runner-Up: BLUE Experience by Sophie Ricketts

Second Runner-Up: The Boy with Wings by Birdlife Productions

Spirit of the Fringe

It would have been easy to cancel it the first time they lost a venue. Easy to give up when the whole April festival was indefinitely postponed. And easier again to throw in the towel when the remounted, reprogrammed, selling-out festival this August was scuppered by level restrictions. And yet, this year, the Fringe team organised and re-organised their festival three separate times to bring us a unique event, working fast with the resources they had and throwing everything into bringing the Fringe artists’ work to audiences. This team committed so, so hard to the promise of their festival. 


On behalf of the artists, the audience, and the judges, we are delighted and grateful to award Spirit of the Fringe 2020 to the entire Nelson Fringe Team.

2020 Judging Panel

Wiremu Tuhiwai

Wiremu Tuhiwai is teacher, entertainer and lover of improvisation based in the nations capital city, Wellington. Teaching numerous levels of improvisation from adult evening classes for beginners, through to teaching  brand new formats at the NZ Improv Festival on multiple occasions.


He has performed with some of Wellington's best, with the Wellington Improvisation Troupe, Best on Tap and the Soap Factory here in Wellington. To having the opportunity to perform with other shows around the country, such as Scared Scriptless with the Court Jesters in Christchurch, Spontaneous in Palmerston North and The Deep End in Nelson.


A huge love for musicals and stage productions continued in Wellington with The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Spamalot, Footloose through to Shakespeare productions of Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest and personal favourite A Midsummer Night's Dream at Lower Hutt Repertory.


Wiremu recently finished a Zoom Production with Wintergreen Creative of The Cell, and remains very heavily involved in the Wellington improvisation scene with frequent shows and teachings today.

Jennifer O'Sullivan

Jennifer O’Sullivan is an improvisor, director and creative producer living in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington, New Zealand). With an a MFA (Creative Practice) in Theatre from Victoria University, she is the co-founder and director of Locomotive, the director of the New Zealand Improv Festival and the creative lead for Kickin’ Rad Productions, as well as a freelance administrator, designer, and teacher. The last decade has seen her performing and producing in Wellington and across NZ and Australian festivals, as well as advocating for women, improv, LGBTQ*, and creative safety throughout the performance industry. In 2016 she created Late Night Knife Fight at BATS Theatre to encourage innovation and experimentation in improv forms, and to have a good time. Also, she has a very cute dog.

Alison B Buck

Alison B Buck is the Executive VP at Bohemia Group managing clients in the US, Europe, UK, Australia and NZ. From series regulars to actors just starting in the business, Bohemia likes to think they keep actors' feet on the ground without killing their dreams. Working in both management and casting has allowed Alison to be a control freak in multiple areas – which she likes.

Growing up in a musical and theatrical family, entertainment was always the goal. A brief stint in the corporate world gave Alison insight on how to “play the game”, but after many years she craved something more creative. With a smile and an oath to never wear pantyhose again, she hopped a plane to Los Angeles.

Since this realization, Alison has also built up a diverse casting resume. She has cast union and nonunion films, traditional format and new media, small and larger budget films and has a knack for being able to attach professional and skilled talent no matter what the budget of the project.  She only has one caveat – a passion for the script.

Alison is currently enjoying a functioning workaholic existence in Lower Moutere.

Rohan O’Neill-Stevens

Rohan O’Neill-Stevens is a Nelson City Councillor, activist, and avid campaigner. His creative credentials include an award-winning show in Nelson’s 2017 Fringe, serving on Arts Council Nelson, and a raft of work with improvisation. Most often found at speaking events and in and around the community, he loves Nelson’s artistic spirit.

Giles Burton

Giles is a theatre director and producer based in Nelson. He has worked widely in theatre in the UK and Hong Kong before arriving in New Zealand. He worked at Edinburgh Fringe for many years and has also worked on festivals including New Zealand International Festival , Wexford Opera Festival, and Tbilisi Festival of the Arts. He was a founder, and still works for Prague Fringe and is currently the director of Nelson Shakespeare. Work in Nelson includes Maungatapu, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Head Above Water. He adapted and directed The Man Who Was Thursday which won several awards at the last Nelson Fringe. 

© 2020 Nelson Fringe

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The Cool Mum by Jo Ghastly (Photo by Gabriele de Bazin)