The Mary Hamilton Award
Mary Hamilton was a leading soprano with DAOS when the society re-formed in 1956. She played many leading roles in the early days of the Society’s re-formation.
She then continued serving as the Assistant Secretary for many years as well as performing in the chorus. She always wanted to encourage younger members to achieve success.
This award was instigated by Mary’s daughter as a way of keeping her name alive with the Society she loved so much.
The Mary Hamilton Award is given to a young member(s) who have provided an outstanding contribution to the company.
Roll of Honour
2017 - Kameron Milton
Mary Hamilton was one of the stalwart members of DMTC when the company reformed in 1956. She played many lead soprano roles for the company and later sang in the chorus as well as serving as our Assistant Secretary for many years. She always encouraged youth and this award was set up in her memory by her daughter, to encourage younger members. The recipient this year is one of our very youngest members. Since joining DMTC, he has appeared in every production that has required children. In “Carousel”, when a close family relative realised that her days of unicycling were probably now behind her, he took up the challenge. He found it hard going, but he persevered and went along to the Durham Juggling Club to get expert tuition and within two sessions he had mastered the tricky feat of unicycling. Mary would have been thrilled with his attitude that this was not going to defeat him. He is just the sort of youngster she would have wanted to encourage. We are therefore delighted that the 2017 Mary Hamilton Award goes to Kameron Milton.
2016 - Charlotte Ferguson
The recipient this year is one of our youngest members. She has taken part in all our recent shows including all three of our recent fund-raising activities, as well as the Newcastle City Hall concert. During this time she went through a difficult period as she was changing schools and courses, with a lot of work needing to be caught up on. This put her under enormous strain, but she persevered and came through for the company. We feel sure that Mary would be delighted with our choice for the 2016 Mary Hamilton Award. It goes to Charlotte Ferguson.
2015 - Melanie Spedding
Mary loved to see young people progressing through the company. This award, in her name, is given annually to a young member who has made an outstanding contribution to the Society. This year’s recipient has given selflessly of her time over many years without the glory of receiving applause at the end of performances as she does not appear on stage. She has designed and painted scenery for many of our pantomimes.
She makes props out of what appears to be scraps of rubbish, e.g. the film camera for “Sunset Boulevard”. She is totally reliable and it was felt that for the first non- performer to receive this award, it could not possibly go to anyone more fitting or deserving. The Mary Hamilton Award for 2015 goes to Melanie Spedding.
2014 - Steven Berry and Graeme Walton
This year we had no difficulty in recognising the wonderful talent of two of our amazing cast from “A Tale of Two Cites”.
They carried the vocal burdens of the show staggeringly well and it became impossible to distinguish between the two of them. Therefore, in 2014 the Mary Hamilton Award goes to Steven Berry and Graeme Walton.
2013 - Ed Turner
This year several of our younger members were considered for this award having performed brilliantly in the last show, but one candidate stood out as having contributed outstandingly to the company. Ed Turner performed excellently as the Beadle in “Sweeney Todd”. He also serves on both the executive committee and the entertainments committee.
When someone was urgently needed to take over Child Protection, he calmly took this on board too. As his recent review said, he is one of the most ‘likeable’ and charming young men you could ever wish to meet. It was with great pleasure that the committee unanimously agreed to give the Mary Hamilton Award for 2013 to Ed Turner.
2012 - Katy Walton, Emily Wright, Catherine Finn, Rebecca Turner,
Catherine Marsden, Katy Croy
Choosing a suitable recipient for the Mary Hamilton Award is never an easy task, as many of our younger members distinguish themselves throughout the year with their outstanding contributions to the work of the company.
In 2012, our major production of “42nd Street” was met with huge critical acclaim, particularly as an example of a true company performance. This involved almost a year of preparation with the entire company learning how to tap dance.
Such a programme entailed a huge commitment from all concerned, but especially from the 6 girls who had the unenviable task of learning 16 dance routines. Their unwavering hard work, tenacity and stamina paid off with superb performances that contributed hugely to the overall success of the show.
We are indeed lucky to have such dedicated and talented young performers in our company and the committee felt it was absolutely right that this year they jointly should be given the Mary Hamilton Award. This was presented to them at the July Annual General Meeting by the President of DMTC, Valenda Taylor.
2011 - Karen Gallagher
For 2011, the Committee has chosen a young lady who is totally dedicated to the Company and has given 100% support to DMTC even when her health has been less than good. She joined the Company at the instigation of her grandmother in 2001 at the tender age of 13 for our first show at GALA, “Me and My Girl”.
Since then she has appeared in 12 of our productions, singing and dancing in the chorus and more recently performing small roles. During rehearsals for our last show, “Grand Hotel”, she had several periods of illness, but she was determined that rehearsals would not suffer.
She made the effort to attend rehearsals, even though she was unable to sing or dance and she would sit out front watching the rehearsal until her dialogue scene came along. Then she would force herself to get up and play the scene before going back to her seat again. Such dedication is laudable and she should be a role model to us all.
She was upset to discover that she was going to miss Fred’s talk about “42nd Street” as she would be away on holiday, but the fact that her boyfriend proposed to her and they got engaged, lessened the blow!
We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2011 Mary Hamilton Award is Karen Gallagher.
2010 - Nicky Tones
Nicky Tones has been a member since 1998 and it was decided that Nicky was a worthy winner for the 2010 Mary Hamilton Award for all the work he has done in revamping the rule books and designing;
1. new booklets for the company to use to record their floor moves for
every chorus number
2. booklets for new members explaining stage terminology and etiquette.
This was on top of serving on the executive committee and taking parts in our recent shows.
2009 - David O'Donnell
David O'Donnell has been a member since 2002 and has performed some minor principal roles as well as being a stalwart chorus member.
He has made useful contributions to both Entertainment's and Executive Committees and has recently taken on the job of DMTC Librarian.
2008 - Sarah Jackson
Sarah Jackson has done all the jobs behind the scenes for DMTC and decided in 2006 to see what it would be like to be on stage in one of our shows. Sarah perfomed in the chorus of our productions 'Company' and 'Gigi' and then successfully auditioned for the part of Lottie Ames in 'Mack & Mabel'.
If you came to see the show you would never have guessed this was Sarah's first principal role as she amazed and entertained everyone with her singing, tap dancing and acting.
For her work backstage and now on stage, Sarah is a worthy recipient of the Mary Hamilton Award for 2008.
2007 - Sophie Begg
In it's inaugural year it was felt that there was one outstanding candidate - Sophie Begg, who had just taken the title role in our production of "Gigi". Sophie joined us in 1998 to play one of the von Trapp children in our production of "The Sound of Music". Sophie has grown up with the Society and is now 18 years old. Her dedication to her work with us has been an inspiration to see. She fully deserves this award.