Sheridan Hickey JP: Civic Award winner 2022
Published on 09 November 2022
Sheridan Hickey has been a constant contributor to the Palmerston North performing and community arts scene since she arrived for Training College in the 1970s.
As an early member of the NZ Theatre Federation – now TheatreFest NZ, she is still called on to adjudicate regional heats of the organisation’s national one-act play festival.
Sheridan made education, drama and speech her vocation, and has been combining her educational qualifications with governance and advocacy skills on behalf of performing arts and cultural activities at local and national levels, ever since.
Recruited onto the Palmerston North Community Arts Council in the late 1980s where she served until 2007, Sheridan organised local performance events to celebrate New Zealand’s sesquicentennial in 1990.
She and other members then worked alongside mana whenua Rangitāne and the Ethnic Council of Manawatū (now the Manawatū Multicultural Council) to hold the Palmerston North International Festival in 1993.
This event evolved into what is now the city’s headline Festival of Cultures, where Sheridan still helps out.
With a focus on young people, she continued organising community events, productions and pageants for special occasions at the Globe Theatre during the 1990s and 2000s, including an annual Shakespeare Festival that reflected her foundation membership in 1991 of NZ’s Shakespeare Globe Centre (SGCNZ).
As its Manawatū champion, Sheridan is recognised alongside other Kiwi performing arts luminaries as an official Shakespeare Globe NZ ambassador.
A member of the 1997-98 Regent Theatre Trust Board, she is ‘Friends of the Regent’ number 3.
In 2003, Sheridan served on the city’s consultative sub-committee for Arts and Culture, and from 2004 – 2016, she was on the Globe Theatre Trust Board that backed the original 2004 Globe Theatre Awards concept.
In 2016, with the support of the theatre community, Sheridan was instrumental in transforming the awards.
The year-long appraisal process was coordinated to culminate in a black-tie gala that she event-managed, while also attending up to 30 community shows a year as a member of the assessment panel.
As a member of Te Manawa Museum Trust from 2004 – 2020 she was a long-term chair of the Collections Committee.
On the Palmerston North Performing Arts Trust Board from 2004, Sheridan was appointed chair in 2005, a position she retains to the present, and in 2008 she was a member of the Creative Communities NZ/Arts and Culture Fund.
Sheridan is a board member and nominal chair of the Earle Creativity & Development Trust established by Dick and the late Mary Earle, providing significant grants and funding to individuals and groups of arts practitioners since 2013.
President of the Central Districts Justices of the Peace Association, Sheridan has served as a regional representative on the national Royal Federation of JPs, and also presides at civic ceremonies.
At the Performing Arts Competitions Association of New Zealand (PACANZ) National Young Performer Awards in Palmerston North at Labour Weekend, there was Sheridan volunteering backstage.