Motherhood the Musical, Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society win Best Ensemble CAT award

SIMPLY THE BEST: Christa Radley, Christie Green, Shevaun Brown and Kimberley Harris are proud of their CAT Award for Best Ensemble. Photo: Christine Little
SIMPLY THE BEST: Christa Radley, Christie Green, Shevaun Brown and Kimberley Harris are proud of their CAT Award for Best Ensemble. Photo: Christine Little

Four of Parkes' best stage talents are still coming down from cloud nine after winning a Canberra Area Theatre (CAT) Award two weeks ago.

Motherhood the Musical - performed at the Parkes Little Theatre last May, featuring Christie Green, Shevaun Brown, Christa Radley and Kimberly Harris - won Best Ensemble at the 24th gala evening in Canberra on February 23.

Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society president Lyn Townsend described the win as the "icing on the cake" for four women who don't perform for the awards but for the love of theatre.

"I'm not surprised [they won]… These four women are so talented, they could have taken this musical and toured all over the country, and they could have performed to packed houses across Australia as a professional show," she said.

"We are very proud of the girls."

The judging for the awards begins with 80 shows, which is narrowed down to single figures by the time the ceremony comes around.

For the Best Ensemble category, Motherhood the Musical was one of six finalists.

The women also performed their 'Mums on Strike' song on the night.

With three of the four stars (Christie, Shevaun and Christa, who are better known as local singing group Amitie) also directing, choreographing, and designing and setting up the sets themselves - the same musical had also been nominated for Best Director of a Musical or Variety Show.

"We were ecstatic to be nominated for that," Christie said.

"We directed it with Kimberley's input - the three of us tend to think alike so it was nice to have that other opinion."

It's not the first time Christie, Shevaun and Christa have won a CAT Award either, with the trio and two others - Belinda McGrath and Cath Adams - winning the same category in 2012 for Downtown The Mod Musical.

"It was all 60s music and that's when we discovered how well we worked together with that era of music, that's how Amitie evolved," Shevaun said.

By 2013 Amitie was born.

Christa said it was privilege to be nominated and felt very proud to win Best Ensemble again.

"It shows how well we work together," Shevaun said.

"We were up against some major talent, big companies like Wollongong and Canberra," she said.

"This award is good because it recognises everybody involved, it recognises it as a group effort," Christie added.

"What we do here in Parkes, a little regional town, it's a credit to the Parkes M and D," she said.

Christie, Shevaun and Christa joined the Parkes M and D two years a part from one another, between 2006 to 2010, and all signed up with similar intentions - to meet new people after just moving to town or to get the family involved.

The trio met in Grease where they were the Pink Ladies.

Kimberley has only been living in Parkes for 18 months, having moved here from Perth.

She was involved in theatre in Western Australia and said she "pretty much" joined the Parkes M and D straight away.

In that time she's already performed in 9 to 5 The Musical, Motherhood The Musical and Goosebumps.

The CAT Award is Kimberley's very first theatre accolade.

"I was nominated seven times for Best Actress at the equivalent awards, the Independent Theatre Awards in WA," she said.

"But I never won, so to win is so exciting, it's thrilling!

"I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of crazy ladies to do it with."

The women wanted to thank the community for its support and attending their show, and also to their families who made it possible for them to get involved.

"You don't do it for the awards but it is very nice," Christie said.

"We have received a lot of recognition for the award, people have been stopping us in the street to congratulate us - that has stood out this time," Christa added.

Lyn said Motherhood the Musical featured the Parkes M and D's smallest cast yet.

"But having four strong performers in a small regional town, that's where the uniqueness is," she said.

"Kimberley is a welcome addition to the M and D.

"Since we've been a member of the Canberra Area, there hasn't been many years when we haven't had a nomination.

"And the awards are very hard to win and it's hard for a small regional company to win against semi-professional and regional city companies."

The Parkes M and D was also one of nine CAT Awards commendations, where the amateur theatre was recognised for its strong community engagement in attracting community support and council funding.

"We are very pleased to receive the CAT recognition and the value it adds for the society moving forward," Lyn said.

"The important thing to acknowledge is the huge support from Parkes Shire Council in accessing the grants and channelling money into the refurbishments (of the Little Theatre).

"The quality of the facilities we have in Parkes and the praise is very equally with council.

"It's always nice when you get a commendation in an area that covers the region and also the ACT, it really does cement our place.

"When it comes to amateur societies, I've been told we are punching above our weight."