Festival Finale

After taking a day to catch our breath after what was a fantastic Festival Finale, we can now look back at an action packed Saturday night and all our winners and nominees.  What a night it was!

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Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Society perform ‘Watching the Magpies’ by Les Clarke, hj1act 2016 (Photo credit: Doug Kirby)

First up we saw ‘Watching the Magpies’ by Les Clarke performed by Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Society. This was an engrossing, poignant play about Rose who has dementia and has also suffered a stroke and Dottie, her carer. The play began gently with the two ladies sitting in their armchairs, watching the birds through their window. It soon became apparent that all was not as tranquil as it seemed with the two ladies about to be evicted by a developer who had bought their home to knock it down for redevelopment. As Rose’s illness became worse  we saw Dottie make an agonising decision which led to a heartbreaking denouement. The set, though simple, was very effective and the music was perfectly chosen and timed to guide us through this touching play. A beautifully acted piece that had us spellbound from beginning to end. Well done PVADS!

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Quirky Bird Theatre perform ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham, hj1act 2016 (Photo credit: Doug Kirby)

Our second play was ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham performed by Quirky Bird Theatre. This was a hard-hitting drama about three children who are living alone in a flat where the mother has mysteriously gone missing. Living off Chinese take-aways, crisps and cider, the children can’t tell anyone about their missing mother because they’re on the ‘at risk’ register and don’t want to be taken into care. The astonishingly assured performances from all four of these youth actors had us gasping in shock one minute and laughing at the dark humour the next. The quick fire delivery was expertly handled as the children struggled to survive and make sense of their situation. The set was a simple table and chairs with a sofa and lamp with a jumble of packing boxes arranged around them. The lighting was gloomy and perfectly conjured the claustrophobic atmosphere which the adjudicator noted was simple but very intelligently done. The play built to a crescendo with little seven year old Finn injuring himself during a manic game and the children huddled together in a powerful tableau while the ‘outsider’ Cassie, looked on before running away. A breathtaking play performed with power and great confidence! Congratulations Quirky Bird Theatre!

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The Western Players perform a specially written play by Nancy Heath as part of the Swindon 175 celebrations, hj1act 2016 (Photo credit: Doug Kirby)

To finish our evening performances we were then treated to a dramatic reading of a specially written short play about Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his founding of the GWR in Swindon 175 years ago. This was part of the Swindon 175 celebrations that are taking place across Swindon in 2016. We thoroughly enjoyed this lovely performance by The Western players who can trace their heritage back to that same railway history and whose name was originally ‘The Great Western Railway (Swindon) Mechanics Institute Amateur Theatrical Society’ in the early 1900’s although research has traced the group back even further to 1854! Everyone at hj1act 2016 were delighted that The Western Players could be part of our Festival Finale and would like to thank them for this highly entertaining and fascinating short play, written by Nancy Heath. Thank you Western Players!

Adjudicator Mike Kaiser from GoDA followed the Western players with his final adjudications with much praise for the night’s teams. Then it was time to shut himself away in a quiet room, add up the marks and see who the winners were.

A nail-biting half an hour or so passed before we were all called back to the auditorium for the awards ceremony. Special guests onstage were the Mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett Councillor Ian Ferries , Swindon’s Mayor Councillor Andrew Bennett along with Swindon and District Theatre Guild chairman Martin Clifton, Festival Director Fenella Harrop and Festival Master of Ceremonies Ashley Heath.

And the winner is…..

Quirky Bird Theatre for ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham. Quirky Bird Theatre were awarded the coveted Betty Peck Rosebowl for the Winning Play!

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Quirky Bird Theatre receiving the Betty Peck Rosebowl for the winning play, hj1act 2016, L-R Anna Friend, Swindon Mayor Cllr Andrew Bennett, Yazmin Priestner-Burton (foreground), Joshua Rogers, Rosie Walker, Kayleigh Gazzard (Photo credit: Doug Kirby)

 The Charles Grace Cup for Runners Up

Lechlade Players for ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov

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Lechlade Players’ director receiving the Charles Grace Cup for runners-up, for ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov, hj1act 2016, L-R Andy Pritchard, Swindon Mayor Cllr Andrew Bennett (Photo credit: Doug Kirby)

Congratulations to Quirky Bird Theatre and Lechlade Players who both go through to the next round of the All England Theatre Festival at Pewsey’s Bouverie Hall next weekend!  (For more information, scroll to the bottom of this page)

 

And here is the full list of all our worthy winners and nominees:

The BBC Wiltshire Audience Award

The Lechlade Players for ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov

 

The June Thompson Memorial Cup for Dramatic Endeavour

The Lechlade Players for ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare

Nominations:

Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Youth Society for ‘The Laundry Room’ by Nettie Brown

 

The Matthew Herring Award for Originality or Achievement in Technical Theatre

Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Youth Society for ‘The Laundry Room’ by Nettie Baskcomb Brown

Nominations:

Athenaeum Limelight Players for ‘Loose Threads’ by Marc Cox

Quirky Bird Theatre for ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham

 

The Swindon Advertiser Award for an Original Production

Athenaeum Limelight Players for ‘Loose Threads’ by Marc Cox

Nominations:

Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Youth Society for ‘The Laundry Room’ by Nettie Brown

 

The Beryldene Hunt Cup for Best Performance by a Junior Actor

Rosie Walker as Maggie and Joshua Rogers as Eliot in ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham, performed by Quirky Bird Theatre.

Nominations:

Teilo How as The Grandson in ‘Loose Threads’ by Marc Cox performed by Athenaeum Limelight Players

Emily Toogood as Miranda in ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare performed by The Lechlade Players

Jazmin Buck as Eliza Hiscock in ‘The Laundry Room’ by Nettie Brown performed by PVADYS

Miranda Smith as Anna in ‘The Laundry Room’ by Nettie Brown performed by PVADYS

Eleanor Smith as Susan in ‘The Laundry Room’ by Nettie Brown performed by PVADYS

Izzy Allen as Mrs Thomas and Mrs Gale in ‘The Laundry Room’ by Nettie Brown performed by PVADYS

 

The Brenda Lilley Loving Cup for Best Performance by a Youth Group

Quirky Bird Theatre for ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham.

Nominations:

Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Youth Society for ‘The Laundry Room’ by Nettie Brown

 

The Joan Cheshire Memorial Trophy for Best Adult Actress in a Supporting Role

Judy Beer as the Grandmother in ‘Loose Threads’ by Marc Cox, performed by the Athenaeum Limelight Players.

Nominations:

Francesca Cole as Ariel in ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare, performed by Lechlade Players

 

The Lester Trophy for Best Adult Actor in a Supporting Role

Stu Jackson as the Priest in ‘(ab)solution’ by Helen Ackrill, performed by Jackrill Productions

Nominations:

Andy Rand as Chubokov in ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov, performed by Lechlade Players

 

The Audrey Suter Trophy for Best Adult Performance by an Actress

Helen Barter as Natalia in ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov, performed by Lechlade Players

Nominations:

Natalie Lyon as Fiona in ‘(ab)solution’ by Helen Ackrill, performed by Jackrill Productions

Charlotte Stringer as the Psychiatrist in ‘Loose Threads’ by Marc Cox, performed by the Athenaeum Limelight Players

 

The Audrey Suter Trophy for Best Adult Performance by an Actor

Dominic Valentine as Lomov in ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov, performed by Lechlade Players

Nominations:

Richie Donaldson as Michael in ‘(ab)solution’ by Helen Ackrill, performed by Jackrill Productions

Ryan Gilks as Ryan in ‘(ab)solution’ by Helen Ackrill, performed by Jackrill Productions

Marc Cox as the Patient in ‘Loose Threads’ by Marc Cox, performed by the Athenaeum Limelight Players

 

The Peter English Award for Best Direction

Anna Friend for ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham, performed by Quirky Bird Theatre

Nominations:

Marc Cox for ‘Loose Threads’ by Marc Cox, performed by the Athenaeum Limelight Players

Andrew Pritchard for ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov, performed by Lechlade Players

 

Huge congratulations to everyone!

 

The next round

For those who are planning on attending the next round, here are the important details!

Venue: The Bouverie Hall, Pewsey, SN9 5QE

Date: Saturday 23rd April, 2016

Adjudicator: Alan Hayes, GoDA

There will be two sessions:

Session 1, the afternoon session at 2.15pm with three plays:

Oasis Theatre with ‘I Love You Mum’ by Mark Wheeller

Lechlade Players with ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov

Quirky Bird Theatre with ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham

Session 2, the evening session at 7.15pm with the following two plays:

The Southampton Players with ‘Fumed Oak’ by Noel Coward

The Shaftesbury Players with ‘100’ by  N, Monaghan, D. Petterle and C. Heimann

Tickets for one session are £7.00 each but you can watch both sessions for just £10.00. Tickets are available on the door or phone (01672) 810436 to make a reservation.

Disabled access, free parking, a bar and refreshments will be available.

 

NEXT UP: The next round!

 

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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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