Our reigning champions tell their stories: Marlborough Young Actors aka Quirky Bird Theatre

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Marlborough Young Actors aka Quirky Bird Theatre perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William                              Shakespeare, directed by Anna Friend, at hj1act 2015. (Photo credit: Ian Laurie, Take One)

As we look forward to another year at The Harold Jolliffe One-Act Play Festival, we’re following up our recent story on our reigning champions in the adult category (read it HERE) by turning the spotlight on our reigning youth champions.

At what was their hj1act debut, they performed a specially adapted, one-act version of William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, directed by Anna Friend, winning them the youth title as well as coming in as the over-all festival runners-up.  This was a bold, highly creative production with ingenious use of staging, costumes, light and sound which saw just eight young actors romp through one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays.

Now with a brand new name – Quirky Bird Theatre – and a bright new look, we caught up with their award winning director Anna Friend…

hjHQ: Welcome Anna!  We’d love to hear your take on winning in 2015 and preparing to defend your title in 2016. How’s it all going?

ANNA: Off the starting blocks….

So this week has seen us, at Quirky Bird Headquarters, at the very beginning of our journey back to compete at the hj1act Festival in April. It’s a little bit weird and scary to fill out an entry form for a play that has yet to take shape, let alone be ready for the world, however, it’s exciting to know that we will be returning, with our trophies in hand, with a very different offering from last year…and a very different name!

Last year, we won our awards as Marlborough Young Actors with a remastered version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and although we are entering in the Youth Category once more, my theatre company has undergone a metamorphosis! With a new name and full rebrand, Quirky Bird Theatre hatched successfully last September and has been growing nicely ever since. Our entry this year will be an extract from Polly Stenham’s Tusk Tusk, a very challenging piece about family loyalty and making choices. In contrast to last year, there will be just 3 actors on stage, rather than the 8 who so deftly created the 16 characters needed for our piece, and the action will be less controlled chaos more crafted emotion.

The choices I’m having to make now, as we begin our rehearsals is which extract do I want the hj1act audience to see….should I leave them hanging, dying to know more? Do I allow them to see the endgame without full disclosure of the circumstances…..either way, it will  be a compelling piece and I’m delighted at the cast I have been able to put together. From Yasmin Priestner-Burton making her debut playing the 7 year old Finn to Rosie Walker, back to defend her title as Best Youth Performer, I’m confident that we will give the audience plenty to think about and applaud.

Now, we just need to get back to the rehearsal room…..

hjHQ: Good luck with rehearsals and huge thanks Anna for taking time out of what we know to be a very hectic schedule to chat with us today. We can’t wait to see Quirky Bird Theatre return to hj1act this year with what is sure to be a fantastic festival finale on Saturday 16th April.

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Anna Friend, reigning youth champions’ director

Meanwhile, if you’d like to see more of Anna’s work, have a look at Quirky Bird Theatre’s Facebook page HERE, Wroughton Passion Play’s page HERE and her collaboration with Swindon’s Gatecrash Theatre HERE.

 

COMING SOON:  Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Youth Society return to hj1act!

 

To make sure you keep up to date with all things hj1act, don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ this page & our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our website.   Hit ‘SHARE’ and ‘RETWEET’ so your friends list can keep up to date too.

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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Our reigning champions tell their stories: The Athelstan Players

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Our reigning champions, The Athelstan Players L-R Natasha Gray, Bob Charman, Nicola Pearce Smith and Jackie Morris (director)

As we gear up for another exciting year at the Harold Jolliffe One-Act Play Festival, we thought it would be great to catch up with our reigning champions now they’ve had time to reflect on their experience. What better way to get the inside view of what it’s like to be part of a winning production? And if you’re preparing for this year’s festival, it’s a chance to get some fantastic insights into what it takes to be champions.

Today we’re featuring our champions in the adult category, The Athelstan Players who performed ‘Honeymoon Suite: Something Old, Something New’ by Tony Layton. After winning at hj1act 2015 they went on to achieve amazing success, winning through round after round of the All England Theatre Festival making it all the way to the English Final in Harrogate. (You can read about their amazing journey HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE ).

‘Something Old, Something New’ is a bittersweet comedy which GoDA’s Tony Rushford called ‘a love story in hiding’. We recently caught up with the production’s leading actors; Bob Charman who played Jet and Natasha Gray who played Pat.

 

hjHQ: Welcome to hjHQ! Thanks so much for coming along to chat with us.

Diving straight in….

As a company, you’re obviously long-standing supporters of the festival scene. Why? What do you like about your hj1act experience?

NATASHA: I liked being able to receive constructive criticism in a competitive environment. I also liked the feeling of creating something which was so collaborative – at each round we had to keep evolving and digging deeper in order to survive!!

BOB: It gives you the chance to perform in different venues, with different audiences, and most importantly gives you professional feedback from the GoDA adjudicators. The experience of the adjudicators means that your production is being compared to a wide range of productions, and often against current trends in theatre. Plus of course the competitive edge of a festival really adds to the excitement. With regards to the HJ Festival, it is welcoming, very well run, and true to the principle of encouraging involvement in theatre from all age groups and all backgrounds.

 

hjHQ: 2015 was another winning year for you. Talk us through the process of choosing your entry and why you think this particular play did so well.

BOB: Choice of play was down to our director, Jackie Morris who actually produced it as part of a 3 play trilogy for our Spring production (Honeymoon Suite by Tony Layton). Other one-act play suggestions were not coming forward so the suggestion was made to enter one of these 3 plays into the HJ Festival. This was additional good sport of course…as the director had to choose which one of the 3 to enter – which she did after seeing how the plays developed during rehearsals. I read all 3 plays and felt the eventual festival play “Something Old, Something New” had the right degree of pathos, humour, realism and depth to potentially do well in the 2015 All England competition. In terms of its success, to do well in the competition a play has to have a balanced strength – and clearly has to score well in the 4 categories of Acting (40%), Production (35%), Stage Presentation (15%) and Dramatic Achievement (10%) – and not forgetting the all-important time limits – marks are lost if you exceed the 55 minute time limit…so our 54:59 in the second round was too close for comfort!

 

hjHQ:  What about the directing and casting? How did that work?

NATASHA: Jackie was rather empowering as a director and allowed us the creative freedom to experiment with our characters in a safe environment. Both Bob and I are fairly intuitive performers and from the start we were able to feed from one another and create the right energy without too much intervention. Of course Jackie was there to steer us if we diverted too much from her vision of the play.

BOB: Two read-throughs were held with the director fairly trying various combinations of actors across the 3 pairs of couples in the 3 plays – choices were made, offers communicated and accepted, rehearsals began. Rehearsing 3 plays within 2 evenings of 2 ½ hour duration is not easy, and extra rehearsals had to be arranged as the festival (and local performances) approached. Directorial style was inclusive, and normally an amiable experience – however don’t forget a bit of “creative tension” is a good thing – no pain, no gain!

 

hjHQ:  What was it like progressing through the rounds? What challenges did you face and how did your production evolve?

NATASHA: It was sometimes a challenge to get the balance quite right between addressing criticism from an adjudicator and keeping to our version of the play. Obviously every adjudicator has something to comment upon and there were times when we adjusted something in response to a criticism and times when we felt that was just not appropriate.

BOB: Winning through to the next round is always a great thrill – but once the euphoria of a successful festival has abated it’s important to remember to pace your rehearsals well in the lead up to the next round.

 

hjHQ: What did your techies tell you about the challenges of working in different theatres?

BOB: Ah – the true heroes of a production – it’s important that strong links are established with the next venue to ensure no technical surprises – stage plans, lighting and sound plans should be provided well ahead of time, and on the day of the festival you all need to be really organised and ready for your technical set up time slot – normally in the morning before the afternoon/evening performances. A good rapport with the venues technical crew is a MUST. I personally find the technical set up one of the most stressful parts of a festival day – but one MUST suffer for one’s art…. !! You need CHAMPIONS for each part of the play – the set, the costumes, make up and wigs, the sound, the lighting, special effects, the Direction – without these no matter how good a cast you may have, the production will struggle.

NATASHA: Our technician Doug has worked in so many of the spaces and was a real help to us. He prepped us about sight lines, how loud we needed to be in each venue and generally kept us well informed of everything we needed to know in terms of practicalities.

 

hjHQ: Some companies might be put off entering festivals because they think it’s too costly. Others also may object to the idea of being adjudicated. Talk us through your philosophy here.

BOB: The cost of the initial festival should not put groups off – most perform in their local area and HJ link the entry cost to selling tickets for the festival itself – this seems to work well. If you are successful and go on, you are supported somewhat financially by the fund raising efforts of HJ (THANK YOU!). It can get tricky if you go deep into the AETF as royalty payments continue for each round, and the transport costs to further flung venues will of course rise. HJ kindly arrange a van hire prize as part of the sponsorship with Swindon Car & Van Hire – this was great last year as they kindly allowed us to use this prize for the weekend trip necessary to the English Final in Harrogate! Apart from that a donation by a generous AP Member and a one off payment from the AP Committee saw us through. Yes there is cost for individuals as you progress – but great trips to RWB, Dorset and Harrogate were experienced as a result!

As regards the adjudications, a challenge to be aware of is the influence of the adjudicators remarks. Whilst they are normally balanced and borne from experience, they are still the views of one individual, and trying to adapt a production after each set of feedback can lead you astray. Stay true to your intent for the play.

 

hjHQ:  What would you say to a company considering entering hj1act?

NATASHA: Do it! It’s such a fun experience that will stay with you.

BOB: Go for it – it’s a truly dramatic experience.

 

hjHQ:  Anything else you’d like to add about your experience?

BOB: Personally I don’t like there being a prompt. From the outset the cast must absolutely commit to working on their lines and their intent. Then you can develop the play and find those depths. If you don’t establish that foundation, you will never reach the levels required.

NATASHA: Next time I want to wear the leather trousers!!

 

Thank you so much Natasha and Bob for taking the time to give us your insights. It’s wonderful to get such a detailed inside look at what it’s like to be festival champions. Congratulations and we look forward to seeing what you do next!

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The Athelstan Players perform Tony Layton’s Honeymoon Suite, ‘Something Old, Something New’ at The Harold Jolliffe One-Act Play Festival 2015 L-R Natasha Gray as Pat, Bob Charman as Jet and THOSE leather trousers!

 

COMING SOON:  More champions’ stories and we chat with this year’s entering companies

 

To make sure you keep up to date with all things hj1act, don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ this page & our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our website.   Hit ‘SHARE’ and ‘RETWEET’ so your friends list can keep up to date too.

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

The British Final this weekend!

The festival year reaches it’s climax this coming weekend with the British Final in Bracknell!

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Friday evening:
Representing England
Total Arts Community Theatre with ‘The Tale of Tilly Miller’ by Peter Machen
Representing Wales
The Cardiff Players with ‘The Obituary’ by Phil Nash

Saturday evening:
Representing Northern Ireland
The Holywood Players with ‘The Future of Life in Death’ by Mick Thompson
Representing Scotland
The Kirkintolloch Players with ‘Her Slightest Touch’ by Torben Betts

Full booking details are available from the AETF website www.aetf.org.uk or the British Final website www.britishfinal.org.uk

English Final Recap

In case you missed the news about how The Athelstan Players got on at the English Final, here’s a look back at how it all went.

The AETF Grand Final, held on Saturday 6th June in The Harrogate Theatre, saw four companies from across England  compete to become English Champions. You can read our story about the entrants and their plays HERE

The Athelstan Players had won through to reach the final, which you can read about HERE

hj1act 2015 champions The Athelstan Players’ winning streak came to an end in Harrogate when Total Arts Community Theatre from Tamworth became English champions with ‘The Tale of Tilly Miller’ by Peter Machen. Despite not selecting the APs to win through, the adjudicator Robert Meadows of GoDA praised their production as a worthy final entry. ‘I’ve read the play’ said Robert, ‘and you still managed to surprise and amaze me. Thank you’.

Megan Mills, who had stepped into the role of Frances just three weeks before, was congratulated for her quick adoption of the role and the accent. ‘She brought out the humour of the role and delivered a nice cameo performance’ said Robert.

Robert went on to praise Natasha Gray’s portrayal of Pat saying ‘she showed distress and rejection very subtly and believably’. He described Natasha as ‘a lovely mover’ saying she moved well about the stage and particularly highlighting her coquettish French interpretation of a young fan of Jet’s. Robert also praised Natasha for her upstage projection, an issue he’d highlighted with companies performing earlier on the large Harrogate theatre stage.

Robert was impressed with Bob Charman’s portrayal of Jet saying he had ‘great timing’ and that these two actors were a great double act. ‘I was surprised by their honesty in acting those moments of closeness’ said Robert. He also mentioned the shape of the blocking saying ‘the movements around the stage were believable and justified’.

A huge WELL DONE to the Athelstan Players for their great success in getting all the way to the English Final. I know they will want to join us in wishing all four teams the very best of luck at the British Final this weekend.

And there’s more…..

The NDFA British All Winners Drama Festival will be held in Woking 19th – 25th July to round off a great summer of one-act play festival drama. More details to come when we get them!

 

To make sure you keep up to date with all things hj1act, don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ this page & our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our website.   Hit ‘SHARE’ and ‘RETWEET’ so your friends list can keep up to date too.

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!

 

 


Athelstan Players to perform at the All England Theatre Festival Grand Final on Saturday

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The Athelstan Players perform ‘Something Old, Something New’ from ‘Honeymoon Suite by Tony Layton at hj1act 2015 L-R Natashe Gray as Pat, Bob Charman as Jet.

The All England Theatre Festival Grand Final is one of the most prestigious events in the amateur drama calendar. It’s being held this Saturday, 6th June at the Harrogate Theatre and our very own hj1act winners will be performing!

The Athlestan Players won hj1act 2015 back in April with their production of ‘Something Old, Something New’ from ‘Honeymoon Suite by Tony Layton. Read more HERE

Their path to the final continued with wins at the quarter finals in Royal Wootton Bassett HERE and triumph at the semi-finals in Ferndown HERE

Now they’re set to represent the Western Area at the AETF Grand Final!

Here’s what’s in store on Saturday:

Matinee, 2.30pm

AETF Northern Area Champions Legion Players (Isle of Man)

‘JOAN’ by James Hogan

This play charts the final moments of a disintigrating marriage brought to its knees by mental illness.

AETF Central Area Champions Total Arts Community Theatre (Tamworth)

‘THE TALE OF TILLY MILLER’ by Peter Machen

A bawdy, Dickensian tale of Tilly Miller’s life from conception to death.

 

Evening, 7pm

AETF Western Area Champions Athelstan Players (Malmesbury)

‘SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW’ (from ‘Honeymoon Suite’) by Tony Layton

Ageing and fading pop star Jet Rush checks in to the Bridal Suite with Pat, his new wife.  The marriage is, for him, a sham, another publicity stunt in an attempt to re-invigorate his flagging career. Pat though, has loved him since the moment they met, but has never seen the love returned. This is a story of a self-centred man driven by the fear of old age and loneliness and facing facts doesn’t come easily to Jet.

AETF Eastern Area Champions Woking College

‘THE UNDERGROUND LOVERS’ by Jean Tardieu

French absurdist playwright Jean Tardieu based this play on the underground with a love story at its core.  The male lead, He, has to overcome several eccentric characters that become his obstacles, in order to reach his love.

 

Saturday looks set to be an outstanding day of high quality drama with this great line-up.

The adjudicator will be Robert Meadows from the Guild of Drama Adjudicators.

 

If you’re planning on going, set your SatNav for The Harrogate Theatre, Oxford Street, Harrogate, HG1 1QF

For tickets, contact the Harrogate Theatre box office on (01423) 502116

Tickets are £9 per session or £15 for both sessions.

If you can’t make it to the actual event, never fear. The hjHQ team will be there to bring you all the news, as it happens. Watch your Twitter feed and Facebook for live updates.

The winners on Saturday become English Champions and will go on to represent England at the British Finals at The Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park in Bracknell, Berkshire on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th July 2015.

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L-R: Natasha Gray, Bob Charman, Nicola Pearce Smith, Jackie Morris (director)

 

A massive GOOD LUCK to The Athelstan Players!

 

To make sure you keep up to date with all things hj1act, don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ this page & our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our website.   Hit ‘SHARE’ and ‘RETWEET’ so your friends list can keep up to date too.

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!

 


Adjudicator leads applause for AP’s actor!

Last Saturday’s All England Theatre Festival Semi-Final saw adjudicator Tony Rushforth lead the audience in applause for the acting talents of Bob Charman of the Athelstan Players as they won through to the English finals!

Those of us lucky enough to be at the Barrington Theatre in Ferndown Dorset on May 15th were treated to a day of excellent theatre, culminating in triumph for The Athelstan Player’s Honeymoon Suite ‘Something Old, Something New’ by Tony Layton. The APs first won through at hj1act 2015 which you can read about HERE, followed by victory at the quarter finals, which you can find HERE . And now they’ve won the semi-finals they’ll be off to the English finals in  less than three weeks time!

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Adjudicator Tony Rushforth of GoDA delivers his adjudications at the AETF Semi-Finals, The Barrington Theatre, Ferndown, 16th May 2015

Saturday’s semi-finals adjudicator Tony Rushford from The Guild of Drama Adjudicators praised The Athelstan Players ‘very polished’ production.  Tony was so impressed by Bob Charman’s performance as Jet, he paused mid-adjudication to ask the audience to applaud him!  ‘As Jet he was so convincing’ said Tony. ‘He performed with absolute truthfulness. It was poignant, moving;  this actor went on an amazing journey’.

Before seeing the play Tony admitted that he couldn’t like or identify with the characters on the written page and didn’t expect to be emotionally involved in the onstage storytelling. He was amazed to discover however that he was emotionally involved in the performance and this was due to the excellence of the performances, the honesty of the characterisations and the credibility of the production throughout.

‘Although it’s a light, gentle comedy, the play is deceptive too’, said Tony, ‘it’s a love story in hiding’. He went on to praise Natasha Gray’s performance as Pat, and Nicola Pearce Smith as Frances. ‘These actors had great honesty in bringing the characters to life with beautifully observed performances and very thoughtful direction’.

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L-R: Natasha Gray, Bob Charman, Nicola Pearce Smith, Jackie Morris (director) who holds the magnificent winning trophy, AETF Semi-Finals, the Barrington Theatre, Ferndown, 16th May 2015

 

We caught up with Bob Charman to chat about The Athelstan Players Semi-Final winning performance and the upcoming AETF English Finals:

hjHQ: Huge congratulations! How do you feel about winning through?

Bob: A sense of pride and satisfaction – pride at representing Athelstan Players in the English Final, and satisfaction that all the hard work in realising the potential within this play has paid off. Also feel sorry for the other Western finalists – who no doubt put in similar efforts!

hjHQ: Did you ever think you’d make it this far?

Bob: I dared to hope….on first reading I felt there were all the right ingredients within the script – humour, pathos, light, shade, identifiable characters – it makes you laugh and hopefully it moves you too.

hjHQ: What have you learned from the Adjudicator? / How has the play changed during its performances?

Bob: To tell the story clearly and simply; to play within the room, not to the audience; better to cut than rush; move only with purpose; pause for a reason; and finally to avoid gratuitous vulgarity!! The play has evolved during this run – it is now several minutes shorter and is better for it, we have introduced a voiceover and lighting sequence that gives it a new dimension, and hopefully the relationship between the 2 main characters has achieved a deeper emotional connection.

hjHQ: How excited are you to be representing Wiltshire at the English Final?

Bob: 3 weeks to go and the butterflies are coming out of hibernation already – Harrogate is a PROPER traditional theatre, and its scale and the size of the audience will all add to the adrenalin – in short…VERY excited!

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Natasha Gray and Bob Charman perform ‘Honeymoon Suite – Something Old, Something New’ by Tony Layton,

Thanks so much Bob! We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the English Final which takes place at The Harrogate Theatre Main House on the 6th of June. If you’d like to go and support The Athelstan Players at the final, you can plan your trip and find all you need to know HERE.

Congratulations to The Athelstan Players and Good Luck in the English Finals!

To make sure you keep up to date with all things hj1act, don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ this page & our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our website.   Hit ‘SHARE’ and ‘RETWEET’ so your friends list can keep up to date too.

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!

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The Athelstan Players win through to the Semi-Finals!

If you keep an eye on all things hj1act you’ll already know the great news; The Athelstan Players have triumphed at the All England Theatre Festival’s quarter finals winning best play, best director and best acting awards as well as  earning themselves a place in the semi-finals. Marlborough Young Actors also impressed winning the Excellence in Technical Theatre award. If you missed it (where’ve you been?) then here’s what happened last weekend.

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The Athelstan Players receive the Joan Cheshire Cup for Winning Play from Councillor Linda Frost, AETF quarter finals in Royal Wootton Bassett, 2015

Saturday’s  round of the AETF one-act play competition saw hj1act champions The Athelstan Players perform their hj1act winning play, an extract from ‘Honeymoon Suite’ by Tony Layton at the Memorial Hall in Royal Wootton Bassett. hj1act runners-up Marlborough Young Actors performed their unique adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. They were up against two teams who had won through from the Codford One-Act Play Festival, held a few weeks ago. Read more HERE

Adjudicator Paul Fowler from the Guild of Drama Adjudicators hailed The Athelstan Players production as ‘top class’ and praised them for their touching and compelling performances. ‘The dialogue fizzed and there was great judgement of pace and attention to detail in this extremely confident production’, said Paul. ‘The set was absolutely magnificent and stage presentation was of the very highest standard’ he added, ‘a deceptively perceptive play, beautifully done’.

The Athelstan Players won three of the four awards up for grabs on Saturday:

The David Bushby Trophy for Best Direction won by Jackie Morris

The Taylor Cup for Best Acting won by Bob Charman

The Joan Cheshire Cup for Winning Play

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Bob Charman of The Athelstan Players receives The Taylor Cup for Best Acting from Councillor Linda Frost, AETF quarter finals in Royal Wootton Bassett, 2015

 

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Jackie Morris, director of The Athelstan Players receives the David Bushby Trophy for Best Direction from Councillor Linda Frost, AETF quarter finals in Royal Wootton Bassett, 2015

Paul Fowler of GoDA also had lots of great things to say in his adjudication of Marlborough Young Actors performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  ‘This was a production so full of invention and creativity, that at times it just took your breath away’, said Paul. ‘I like a play that goes that extra mile, that uses the imagination, that tries things, that isn’t afraid to experiment with stuff, to be bold’ he said.  ‘This production was full of invention, creativity and ideas.  A terrific ensemble performance!’

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Anna Friend, director of Marlborough Young Actors receives the Pete Hadden Trophy for Excellence in Technical Theatre from Councillor Linda Frost, AETF quarter finals in Royal Wootton Bassett, 2015

As hj1act champions and AETF quarter-finals winners, The Athelstan Players will now go on to the semi-finals which will be held at The Barrington Theatre, Ferndown, Dorset on Saturday 16th May.
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The Athelstan Players celebrate their success at the AETF quarter finals 2015 and their place in the semi finals!

 

Huge congratulations to all the teams who performed on Saturday and good luck to The Athelstan Players in the semi-finals which we’ll bring you news of, as soon as we have it! Can’t wait!!

 

NEXT UP: Festival follow-up

 

To make sure you keep up to date with all things hj1act, don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ this page & our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our website.   Hit ‘SHARE’ and ‘RETWEET’ so your friends list can keep up to date too.

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!


Festival Finale: and the winner is……..

Now the festival celebrations are over and we’ve slept off our late night, let’s take a look back at Saturday night’s Festival Finale. And what a great night it was!

The evening began with festival newcomers the Bishopstoke Players with an original play A Long Time Coming, written and directed by Peter Yates. This was a murder mystery where a young girl seeks to solve the mystery of her mother’s death, the obstacles she faces which lead her to take matters into her own hands. A really chilling yet poignant story that had the audience transfixed. Well done Bishopstoke Players!

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Bishopstoke Players perform A Long Time Coming (Photo Ian Laurie, Take One)

Our final play of the night and the festival was performed by our reigning champions, The Athelstan Players. This was one act taken from the three-act play Honeymoon Suite by Tony Layton. An aging rocker, Jett Rush marries his long suffering assistant as a publicity stunt to revive his flagging career. What Jett doesn’t realise is that Pat has always loved him, despite the awful way he treats her. This was a superbly acted, beautifully observed, bitter-sweet comedy that had us laughing one minute and crying the next. Congratulations Athelstan Players!

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Athelstan Players perform Honeymoon Suite (Photo Ian Laurie, Take One)

Adjudicator Sue Doherty from GoDA then gave her excellent feedback before it was time to shut herself 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 deputy mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett Councillor Ian Ferries , Swindon’s deputy mayor Councillor Andrew Bennett along with Swindon and District Theatre Guild chairman Martin Clifton and Festival Directors Fenella Harrop and Ashley Heath.

And the winner is……..

The Athelstan Players for ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ by Tony Layton. The Athelstan Players were awarded the coveted Betty Peck Rosebowl for the Winning Play!!

Winners

The Athelstan Players receive their awards L-R Bob Charman, Nicola Pearce-Smith, Jackie Morris, Cllr Andrew Bennett, Natasha Gray (Photo: Ian Laurie, Take One)

 

The Charles Grace Cup for Runners Up

Marlborough Young Actors for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare.

Runners Up

Marlborough Young Actors receive their award L-R Kai Price-Goodfellow, David Higgins, Anna Friend, Cllr Andrew Bennett, Rosie Walker (Photo: Ian Laurie, Take One)

Congratulations to the Athelstan Players and Marlborough Young Actors who both go through to the next round of the All England Theatre Festival in two weeks time!

 

And the awards kept coming….

The BBC Wiltshire Audience Award:

Athelstan Players for ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ by Tony Layton

 

The June Thompson Memorial Cup for Dramatic Endeavour

New College for ‘Under the Bridge’ by its cast.

Nominations:

RWB Productions for Moonwillow by Amanda Jayne Davey, adapted by Paula Clifford.

Friendly Theatre for The Virtuous Burglar by Dario Fo.

 

The Matthew Herring Award for Originality or Achievement in Technical Theatre

RWB Productions for Moonwillow by Amanda Jayne Davey, adapted by Paula Clifford.

Nominations:

New College for ‘Under the Bridge’ by its cast.

 

The Swindon Advertiser Award for an Original Production

Bishopstoke Players for ‘Long Time Coming’ by Peter Yates

Nominations:

RWB Productions for Moonwillow by Amanda Jayne Davey, adapted by Paula Clifford.

New College for ‘Under the Bridge’ by its cast.

 

The Beryldene Hunt Cup for Best Performance by a Junior Actor

Rose Walker as Hermia and Snout in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, performed by Marlborough Young Actors.

Nominations:

Kai Price-Goodfellow as Lysander and Titania in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, performed by Marlborough Young Actors.

David Howard as Pizza Delivery Boy / Ensemble in ‘Under the Bridge’ by its cast, performed by New College Stage Company.

Bethany Rawsthorn as Hopeful Jobseeker / Ensemble in ‘Under the Bridge’ by its cast, performed by New College Stage Company.

 

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

Marlborough Young Actors for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare.

 

The Cheshire Trophy for Best Adult Actress in a Supporting Role

Samantha France as the Burglar’s Wife in ‘The Virtuous Burglar’ by Dario Fo, performed by Friendly Theatre.

Nominations:

Harriet Leitch as Hippolyta, Bottom and Puck in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, performed by Marlborough Young Actors.

Nicola Pearce-Smith as Frances in for ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ by Tony Layton, performed by The Athelstan Players.

 

The Lester Trophy for Best Adult Actor in a Supporting Role

Kevin Bowers as Reeth in ‘Long Time Coming’ by Peter Yates, performed by the Bishopstoke Players.

Nominations:

Ed France as Antonio in ‘The Virtuous Burglar’ by Dario Fo, performed by Friendly Theatre.

 

The Audrey Suter Trophy for Best Adult Performance by an Actress

Natasha Gray as Pat in ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ by Tony Layton, performed by the Athelstan Players.

Nominations:

Viv Martin as Margaret in ‘Last Tango in Little Grimley’ by David Tristram, performed by the Lechlade Players.

Bridget Walker as Anna in ‘The Virtuous Burglar’ by Dario Fo, performed by Friendly Theatre.

Emma Joy as Iona in ‘Long Time Coming’ by Peter Yates, performed by the Bishopstoke Players.

 

The Audrey Suter Trophy for Best Adult Performance by an Actor

Martin Rawlinson as Bernard in ‘Last Tango in Little Grimley’ by David Tristram, performed by the Lechlade Players.

Nominations:

Vernon Dunkley as The Burglar in ‘The Virtuous Burglar’ by Dario Fo, performed by Friendly Theatre.

Bob Charman as Jet Rush in ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ by Tony Layton, performed by the Athelstan Players.

Drew Craddock as Tom in ‘Long Time Coming’ by Peter Yates, performed by the Bishopstoke Players.

 

The Peter English Award for Best Direction

Jackie Morris for ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ by Tony Layton, performed by the Athelstan Players.

Nominations:

Anna Friend for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, performed by Marlborough Young Actors.

Peter Yates for ‘Long Time Coming’ by Peter Yates, performed by the Bishopstoke Players.

 

Huge congratulations to everyone!

 

NEXT UP: The next round!

 

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