The idea of the Rose Bowl Awards was born in 1963 when the late Walter Hawkins, the Chairman of the Bristol Evening Post, and John Coe, a well-known journalist and drama critic, decided that it was time to recognise the huge talent often hidden away in the many amateur theatrical groups in the region. It was their inspiration and enthusiasm that ensured the competition’s fortunes and laid the foundation for the Rose Bowl Awards to grow and flourish throughout the years that followed.

Encouraged by the increasing interest from participating clubs and no longer able to rely on the sole support of the Evening Post, the Rose Bowl Committee was formed in 1991 to ensure the ongoing stability and continuation of the competition.

Today the Rose Bowl Awards ceremony is the major event of the year in the region for members of the amateur theatre. The evening combines the celebration of excellence, good food and entertainment with an opportunity to meet, exchange experiences and congratulate the winners in each category.

Award categories

The Chris Harris Award for Best Variety/Revue/Pantomime

First Corporate Coup de Theatre Award

SLX Award for Technical Achievement

David Higson Award for Best Supporting Actor (Drama)

Quartet Community Foundation Award for Best Supporting Actress (Drama)

Spirolux Limited Award for Best Supporting Actor (Musical)

Towergate Insurance Award for Best Supporting Actress (Musical)

Walter Hawkins Award for Creativity and Design

Manor Printing Services Award for Best Publicity Material

Pamela Southern Award for Best Actor in a youth production

Barbara Macrae Award for Best Actress in a youth production

T-Worx Award for Best Youth Actor in an adult production

Jean Fennell Award for Best Youth Production

Joan Hawkins Award for Best Shakespeare Production

Gregg Latchams Solicitors Award for Best Actor (Drama)

Eileen Hartly Hodder Award for Best Actress (Drama)

Bernard Fennell Award for Best Actor (Musical)

Melanie Evans Award for Best Actress (Musical)

Award for Best Opera/Operetta/Gilbert & Sullivan Production

John Coe Award for Best Dramatic Production

The Bristol Evening Post Award for Best Musical Production

Theatre Companies

The Rose Bowl Awards are open to any amateur dramatic or operatic club in Bristol and surrounding area including Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The following companies entered in 2017/18:

@2KTheatre Taunton, Somerset
Actonians Drama Group South Gloucestershire
Amateur Players of Sherborne, The Dorset
Argyle Players Bath
Athenaeum Limelight Players Wiltshire
Athenaeum Masqueraders Wiltshire
Axminster Musical Theatre Devon
Bartholomites Bristol
Bath Gilbert & Sullivan Society Bath
Bath Light Operatic Group Bath
Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society Bath
Bath Theatre School Bath
Bath Unity Players Bath
Beechen Ciff School with Bath Theatre School Bath
BLOC Productions Bristol
Bonzo Productions Gloucestershire
Bradfordians Dramatic Society, The
Trowbridge, Wilts
Bridgwater Operatic Society Somerset
Bristol Amateur Operatic Society Bristol
Bristol Amateur Operatic Society Youth Bristol
Bristol Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society Bristol
Bristol Musical Comedy Club Bristol
Bristol Musical Theatre Bristol
Bristol Musical Youth Productions Bristol
Centre Stage, Exmouth Devon
Clevedon Light Opera Club North Somerset
Clevedon Light Opera Club Juniors North Somerset
Clifton Amateur Dramatic Society Bristol
Clifton College Bristol
Cotswold Players Stroud, Gloucestershire
Court Players, The South Gloucestershire
Curtain Up Theatre School Bath
Devizes Musical Theatre Wiltshire
Dursley Operatic & Drama Society Gloucestershire
Exeter Musical Society Devon
Exit Stage Left Bath
Exmouth Musical Theatre Company Devon
Failand Drama Circle North Somerset
Glastonbury & Street Musical Comedy Soc Somerset
Kelvin Players Theatre Company, The
Keynsham Light Opera Group B&NES
Muses Theatrical Productions
Northavon Youth Theatre Company South Gloucestershire
Oldland Players, The
South Gloucestershire
Phoenix-KYTS Keynsham, B&NES
ProAct Theatre Company Bristol
St Alban’s Players Bristol
St Mary’s Players Bristol
St Philip & St James Church Drama Group Bath
St Ursula Players, The
Saltford Drama Group
Sidmouth Musical Theatre Group
Sodbury Players South Gloucestershire
Sutton Theatre Company B&NES
TAOS Musical Theatre Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Taunton Amateur Operatic Society Somerset
Taunton Thespians Somerset
Thornbury Musical Theatre Group South Gloucestershire
Thornbury Musical Theatre Group Juniors South Gloucestershire
Tickenham Drama Group North Somerset
Timsbury Theatre Group B&NES
Trowbridge Players, The
Upstagers, The
Upton St Leonards, South Gloucestershire
Weston-super-Mare Operatic Society North Somerset
Weston-super-Mare Operatic Society Youth North Somerset
Winterbourne Players South Gloucestershire
Worx Productions, The Bristol
Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society Somerset
Zenith Youth Theatre Company Bath



Laura trained at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, graduating in 2007 with a first class Honours degree and is currently completing her MA at LJMU. Her performance career over the past ten years has seen her touring the UK as an actress and vocalist, from the UK Tour of ‘Dry Rot’ to supporting Will Young at the Olivier Awards.  Alongside performing she is currently Artistic Director and Lyricist for A Handful of Keys Theatre Company and teaches Musical Theatre, LAMDA and LCM examinations at 344 Dance Centre. 


 Ross Harvey is a professional actor trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He has worked in theatre, television and radio drama. Theatre includes seasons with The Royal Shakespeare Company, Basingstoke and several major productions for the Bristol Old Vic. He has toured extensively with Bristol’s Ministry Of Entertainment since 1999. He works extensively as a corporate actor in the UK, South America, Far East and India.


Caroline has been involved in television, radio, theatre and performance for the past seventeen years, including touring with a theatre company. She is now a full-time Speech and Drama Teacher.


Claire studied English and Drama at Leicester University.  During this time she worked in a Parisian recording studio, her voice being used in the production of French/English learning material. She worked as a Drama teacher before moving to the South West where she has been an active member of three different amateur dramatic groups.


A journalist and broadcaster with wide experience as an actor and director, Gerry has contributed theatre and music reviews to The Bristol Evening Post (now the Bristol Post), Western Daily Press and other journals since 1970. For many years he has written a weekly column on local theatre for the Bristol Post newspaper.


Having read Drama and English at Bristol University, Rebecca worked for BBC Radio Four’s Drama Department. Always drawn to teaching, she is now a teacher of Speech and Drama privately and in schools. Additionally, Rebecca works as a voice and presentation skills coach in colleges and businesses and also facilitates Speaking and Listening Courses for South Gloucestershire; she continues to direct plays with young people. Rebecca is an adjudicator for the International Federation of Speech & Drama.


After qualifying, Clare Toghill taught, directed and choreographed in the Far East, The Middle East and Europe for a number of years. She was responsible for creating theatre-based curricular programmes for schools in Asia and for staging large-scale productions in several countries. She was an in-house Choreographer for a Singapore-based touring Theatre Company during her time there. Clare still teaches Drama and English in schools, lectures in colleges and tutors privately.


Caroline trained as a classical singer and pianist. She has performed opera, light opera, classical concerts and musicals for more than 30 years with both amateur and professional ensembles. Caroline works as a vocal coach and has been a musical director for numerous productions in the South West. She also conducts mixed choirs, as well as playing the piano and the cello. As the widow of David Whitehead, Founder of Stage Electrics, Caroline retains a particular interest in lighting, sound and stage management aspects of performance.



The Rose Bowl Awards are managed by a Committee comprising family representatives of the founders, Walter Hawkins and John Coe, and other officers and committee members.

President: Joan Hawkins

Vice President and Chairman: Gerry Parker

Vice Chairman: Steve Blackmore

Secretary: Veronica Northam

Treasurer: Peter Stoppard OBE

Peter Coe

Brian Fisher (Chair of the Awards Ceremony Sub-Committee)

Richard Jones

Helen Moss OBE

Caroline Whitehead