Chris Gardner, left, and Vic Farrow with the trophies. Picture by Peter Boam.
THE entertainment industry has recognised Shanklin Theatre’s rise to prominence since it became an independent entity two years ago.
Technician Chris Gardner won the award as Gaffer of the Year at the national Encore Magazine annual awards ceremony, held at Fairfield Halls, Croydon.
The theatre also won a runner-up trophy for having the best show guide. The winner was the Harlow Playhouse, Harlow, Essex.
The awards recognise the successes of theatres — and their staff — from across the land, with nominees put forward by artists and promoters who had visited the venues.
Leading theatre producer John Spiller presented Chris his trophy for his efforts over the past year.
Chris, 54, of Lake Hill, Lake, has had a 25-year association with the theatre and has worked as a stage manager at the Wembley Conference Centre and for ventriloquist Keith Harris for several years.
Chris, a technician for more than 40 years, said: "I was completely taken aback when my name was announced as the winner. My heart was pounding like a good ’un.
"This was my first ever industry award, so I was quite pleased with that."
Vic Farrow, the theatre’s bookings manager, accepted the runner-up award.
Former Ventnor man, actor Philip Lowrie, who stars in Coronation Street, commended Shanklin Theatre for its rise to prominence in such a short time.
Vic said: "It was fantastic for the theatre to get the plaudits. We’ve only been going for a couple of years, so to be recognised by the theatrical industry is staggering."