Festival Friday

After the great start to hj1act 2016 on Thursday evening (read about it HERE) our penultimate night certainly offered audiences another varied evening’s entertainment and plenty of drama to enjoy.


Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Youth Society perform ‘The Laundry Room’ at hj1act 2016 (Photo credit: Doug Kirby)

First up were the young actors and crew from the Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatic Society Youth Section, or as we all know them, PVADYS.  Their play, ‘The Laundry Room’ was written by long-standing PVADYS writer/director, Nettie Baskcomb Brown. It centred on a young mum and her daughter, who move into a new flat in a converted former workhouse only to find it is haunted by the ghost of a young girl. Gauze screens and a chilling blue light were used the great effect to portray the ghostly figure of the tragic girl emerging through the gloom searching for her lost baby. A cast of twelve young actors took us back to the Pewsey Union Workhouse to bring us this poignant insight into the lives and working conditions of the people who toiled in this same building back in the 1800s along with the chilling echoes of the past which conspired to reach out and touch the lives of the flat’s modern inhabitants. This tale was all the more engaging, given that much of the inspiration for it was drawn from historical records and newspaper reports of the time. Congratulations PVADYS!

Lechlade Players perform ‘The Proposal’ at hj1act 2016 (Photo credit: Doug Kirby)

The next play was the second entry from Lechlade Players, ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov.  This was a fast-moving farce where a hypochondriac neighbour, done up in his finest evening dress, comes to ask his friend for permission to propose marriage to his daughter.  As simple as that sounds, the frenetic dialogue took us through a maelstrom of envy, pride, fear and petulance which left the audience breathless.  This play was beautifully handled by three actors who, our adjudicator noted, had really mastered the language, the rapid fire delivery, the situational and physical comedy and who totally understood the genre to bring us a superbly performed and incredibly funny performance of one of Chekov’s most popular farces. Well done Lechlade Players!


RWB Productions perform ‘So What Would hyou Do?’ at hj1act 2016 (Photo credit: Doug Kirby)

Concluding the evening were the players from RWB Productions with their original play, ‘So What Would You Do?’ The action moved between a police interview room and an empty shopping arcade; empty, save for three men, and a woman who later finds herself at the sharp end of penetrating questioning by the police. This was an interesting look at a woman who’s been put in an impossible situation where speaking out and ‘doing the right thing’ is not as simple as it sounds. The mood was conjured by sound effects of pouring rain that drew us into that stormy night where the action unfolds. hj1act’s adjudicator, Mike Kaiser, thanked RWB for bringing this morality tale to the stage, pointing out the effectiveness of the staging of the arcade scenes in particular, which used partial walls to outline the physical geography of the scene. Well done RWB Productions!

Speaking on BBC Wiltshire this morning, Mike told listeners that our second night continued the impressive variety of performance and genre that the first night had delivered.

We’re looking forward to tonight, with Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Society adult section with ‘Watching the Magpies’ by Les Clarke and young actors from Quirky Bird Theatre who will be performing and extract from ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham.

We have an extra treat tonight as the the Western Players will be performing a specially written short play celebrating the 175th anniversary of the GWR in Swindon. This is part of the Swindon 175 year-long celebrations. (Read more HERE)

And finally, to finish our evening we’ll be rounding up the festival with our own version of the Baftas! The Awards Ceremony will take place after the final adjudications and this is where we’ll find out who has won the coveted trophies and who will go on to the next round of the All England Theatre Festival.

Tickets are on sale NOW so get yours by phoning (01793) 524481 or come along to Swindon Arts Centre in Devizes Road and buy them on the door tonight.


See you there!


NEXT UP: Festival Finale


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If you have a story you’d like us to include here in our blog, or if there’s something you’d like us to write about, let us know at hj1act@gmail.com  So long as it’s festival/drama/local theatre centred, we’ll definitely give it a look!

The Harold Jolliffe One-Act Play Festival supports  SWINDON 175
Celebrating 175 years since the birth of Swindon as a railway town
Find out more HERE and HERE
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Posted in 2016, Companies, Plays

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