Announcing our 2016 line-up

Announcement

We are very happy to announce our line-up for 2016 and pretty tasty it looks too.

Drum roll……..

Thursday 14th April

Lechlade Players
‘The Tempest’  by William Shakespeare, (an extract), directed by John Williams

The opening scene – Miranda begs her father Prospero to calm the tempest. Prospero decides to tell Miranda his life story. He reveals that he was once the Duke of Milan.

Jackrill Theatre Company
‘(Ab)solution’ by Helen Ackrill, directed by Stu Jackson

Three brothers go to confession, each admitting a sin against the same woman. Michael, the eldest, is a family man and a secret sex addict; the middle brother, Alec, is a mummy’s boy confused about his sexuality; the youngest, Ryan, is a rebel who has anger issues and a drug dependency. Michael and Ryan add fuel to existing sibling rivalry when Alec introduces the free-spirited Fiona as his girlfriend, with dire consequences. Secrets are revealed and family loyalty is tested in this drama about lust, religious guilt and deceit.

Athenaeum Limelight Players
‘Loose Threads’ written and directed by Marc Cox

Set in the present day, the play looks at what makes us and what breaks us, in a world that may not always be what it seems. Is there a moment that defines us, or are we made up of many threads that reveal the tapestry of our life? What would you change?

 

Friday 15th April

Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatic Youth Society
‘The Laundry Room’ written and directed by Nettie Brown

The Laundry Room is a dramatisation based around true facts and figures taken from censuses from 1841 – 1911 from the Pewsey Union Workhouse, the Masters Journal from 1919 – 1920, reports in the Marlborough Times from 1904-1911 by the Pewsey Board of Guardians.

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

Two landowners, one errant daughter. And they haven’t even discussed property or dogs yet. What could possibly go wrong?

RWB Productions
‘So What Would You Do?’ written and directed by Derek Clifford

An unexpected rain storm leads to a series of events that leaves a wife and mother with an impossible decision to make. She is isolated, not knowing all the facts, will she stick to her story or tell the truth? What would you do?

 

Saturday 16th April

Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatic Society
‘Watching the Magpies’ by Les Clarke, directed by Martin Clifton

Dottie, although not a qualified carer looks after her friend Rose. They live together in a home which has recently been sold for redevelopment and they’ve been told they have to move out. Rose’s illness is becoming worse and the council are having difficulties in rehousing them.

Quirky Bird Theatre
‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham (an extract), directed by Anna Friend

Three children, Eliot, Maggie and Finn are alone in a new flat, surrounded by boxes. Their mother has gone missing, not for the first time.

 

Tickets are on sale at the Wyvern Theatre Box Office HERE or by phoning (01793) 524481

Group and multiple night booking offers are available so get your tickets NOW!!

 

COMING SOON:  Our reigning champions tell their stories and we get to know more about our entering companies as they prepare.

 

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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The next round: this Saturday in Royal Wootton Bassett

Even though we’ve said goodbye to hj1act for another year, that’s not the end of things by any means.  Our winners and runners up are set to perform again in the next round of the All England Theatre Festival this coming weekend.

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The Athelstan Players perform Honeymoon Suite at hj1act 2015 (Photo: Ian Laurie, Take One)

If you’ve been keeping an eye on all things hj1act or indeed if you were lucky enough to actually be there, you’ll know that this year’s champions are The Athelstan Players and runners-up are Marlborough Young Actors (who are also our Junior Champions) who took home plenty of silverware at our Festival Finale awards ceremony.  Read all about it HERE, HERE and HERE.

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Marlborough Young Actors perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream at hj1act 2015  (Photo: Ian Laurie, Take One)

What you may not know is that hj1act is a first round of the All England Theatre Festival’s (AETF) annual one-act play competition. Those who win through get the chance to perform again, in front of new audiences and different adjudicators and if they do well, can continue on right up to the English and National Finals!  We’ll talk  more about them very soon but first let’s look at what’s coming up this weekend.

This Saturday, 25th April,  at the Memorial Hall in Royal Wootton Bassett the next round of the AETF will take place and it’s actually the quarter finals! What’s more, YOU can be there to see it. Competing for a place in the semi-finals there’ll be the two teams that won through from hj1act 2015 who’ll go up against two more teams who won through from the Codford One-Act Play Festival, held a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s the skinny…..

There’ll be two sessions of two plays each, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

Afternoon Session, starting at 2.15pm

The Athenaeum Limelight Players

with ‘Little Grimley Presents Strictly Sex Factor (on Ice)’

by David Tristrum

Little Grimley Amateur Dramatics Society faces a threat to their very existence. Reality TV shows have ravaged Saturday night audiences, but chairman Gordon has a cunning plan: their very own Saturday night blockbuster. All they need now is an audience, some contestants, four judges……and some ice.

There will then be an interval, followed by:

The Athelstan Players

with ‘Honeymoon Suite’ (extract)

by Tony Layton

Aging 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. A bittersweet journey into the honeymoon suite sees Jet plan his triumphal comeback. Will his plan work? Will he ever really appreciate Pat?

This extract is entitled ‘Something Old, Something New’ and is the first act of the larger three-act play.

There will then follow an adjudication of these two plays by the adjudicator Paul Fowler from The Guild of Drama Adjudicators (GoDA).

Evening Session, starting at 7.00pm

Marlborough Young Actors

with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

by William Shakespeare

The Marlborough Young Actors take on this classic tale of fairies and love and with the help of a lot of wigs and music they will weave this magical story into something quite unique. High energy with lots of fun, frolics and the occasional bit of cross-dressing. It’s Shakespeare but not as you know it!

There will then be an interval, followed by:

Woolstore Country Theatre

with ‘What’s for Pudding’

by David Tristram

It is a typically quiet and boring Saturday night for a middle-aged couple like Mary and Jack, until the doorbell rings. What follows is a series of comic revelations as their dull routine is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Maureen, Ted and Dennis. Then drink begins to flow….

An adjudication of these two plays by the adjudicator Paul Fowler from GoDA follows before a summary and announcement of the winner and presentations of the trophies.

Tickets are £7.00 per session or £10.00 for both sessions. You can buy tickets on the door.

Set your SatNav for  The Memorial Hall, Station Rd, Royal Wootton Bassett, Swindon, Wiltshire SN4 8EN

£10.00 for four plays in one day is ridiculously good value for money so get along to Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday and show our hj1act 2015 winners some love.  Who knows, they might win their way to the semi-finals.

See you there!

 

NEXT UP: The Semi-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!


Our teams prepare: Tech Sunday

With hj1act 2015 just a day away, let’s take a look at an important part of festival preparation that took place recently – Tech Sunday.

Tech Sunday is a day where our entering companies come along to our venue, Swindon Arts Centre, to discuss their light and sound needs with our technical team, walk the stage and generally get to know the space they’ll be performing in.

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Discussing light and sound

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Technical questions answered!

It’s not just sound and light though!  Any stage weapons must be checked, electric items need to be Portable Appliance Tested (PAT tested), set and props checked for fire proofing, performing licenses and script alteration permissions confirmed, programme copy approved, cast and crew tickets issued, last year’s trophies returned and a host of details gone over to make sure everyone has everything they need for their performance.

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The admin team make sure the entrants have everything they need

Teams are also taken on a tour backstage to see where and how their sets get to the stage, the backstage layout and access points, the green room and dressing rooms. Festival rules and procedures are gone over so teams know exactly what to expect on the night.

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Walking the stage

The hj1act team are incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and supportive and are there to make sure each team has everything they need.

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Going over all the details!

Our thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make Tech Sunday run so smoothly.

So now the preparation is done, all that’s left to say is ‘best of luck’ to all our entering companies!

 

NEXT UP: hj1act 2015 is finally here!

 

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!


Guest blogger: our 2015 adjudicator Sue Doherty

We’re delighted that our 2015 adjudicator Sue Doherty has taken time in her incredibly busy schedule to write a guest post for us here at hj1act.

We featured Sue back in November when we first got the great news that she was to be our adjudicator this year. You can find that story HERE.  Sue was also kind enough to answer some of our readers’ questions which you can read about HERE. And now we have another wonderful opportunity to get to know Sue a little better and find out what she’s been up to in the run up to her appearance at this year’s festival.

Welcome to hjHQ Sue and over to you…..

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Our 2015 adjudicator, Sue Doherty, from The Guild of Drama Adjudicators, (GoDA)

‘I am so looking forward to coming to Swindon in ten days time. The scripts arrived last week, what a range of styles and genres. While you have all been rehearsing I too have been busy adjudicating, directing, teaching and working on a script.

In February I was in Brecon adjudicating The Brecknock YFC Pantomine and Drama Festival. It was great fun, and proved that comedy is one of the hardest genres to do well. The standard was very high, every company was so professional and the evidence of strong teamwork was reflected in every performance.

Last week I was in Tamworth, and there was a selection of both youth and adult groups. It was inspiring to see some highly imaginative devised work and challenging scripts. My advice to several groups was to think carefully about movement ” Every movement should have a purpose” Also in all female/male scenes make sure that you do not ” tune into each other”.

I have also been working on audition pieces with students applying for drama schools and universities. My advice here is always choose your pieces carefully, show you have a wide knowledge of playwrights both past and present, avoid ones that are done to death, always explore new writing.

Its A level time and one group I have been working with chose ‘Salt of The Earth’ by John Godber. A wonderful, moving play, his work is so well structured, but unfortunately many students do not realise there is more to him than Bouncers and Shakers!!

In between all this I am working on a script based on Post Natal depression, alongside professionals and the actress Denise Welch, so watch this space!!!

See you all soon, and good luck with the rest of your rehearsals!!’

Thank you Sue for stopping by for a chat and for some wonderful advice and insights there. We’re sure our entering teams will be taking on board your excellent words of wisdom and are super keen to showcase all their hard work when we see you in ten days time. We’re really  looking forward to welcoming you to Swindon and hj1act 2015!

 

NEXT UP: Our teams prepare: Tech Sunday

 

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!


Meet the team: Paula Clifford

Today we’re continuing with our series ‘Meet the Team’ where we’re getting to know all those people whose job it is to bring you hj1act each year. [You can read part one HERE and part two HERE].  The team are members of The Swindon and District Theatre Guild [SDTG], a registered charity which hosts the Harold Jolliffe One-Act Play Festival.  Find out more about the Guild HERE

In this, the third part of our series, we meet Paula Clifford; a long serving Guild member and Front of House Coordinator for hj1act. And that’s not all! Paula is also an award winning actress, director and writer. But don’t just take our word for it; here’s Paula to tell you all about herself, her love of theatre and her work with hj1act.

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Paula Clifford (left) pictured with the cast of Interior Designs

‘In 1988 my husband took me to a Christmas gathering at The Wharf Theatre in Devizes where he was already a member. At that time they had been unable to cast their spring production and were instead auditioning for ‘California Suite’ by Neil Simon. Someone asked me if I was interested and I replied that I had not acted since I was at school. With encouragement from my husband, and without knowing the play, I auditioned. The next day I received a phone call to say I had the part of ‘Beth Hollender’ from Chicago! For the ensuing months of rehearsals I drove my family mad by practicing my American accent whenever I could! My husband commented during this time that I would either hate acting and get it out of my system or I would get the bug! 25 years later I still have the bug!

In 1998 I joined The Clarendon Players Royal Wootton Bassett’s drama group. My first performance with the group was in March 1999 as the barmaid Sadie in ‘Time Murderer Please’. The play was set in the 60’s and I had to wear a bright pink feather hat!

In 2000 as a Clarendon Players committee member I attended my first Swindon and District Theatre Guild meeting. From that initial meeting I started on my festival journey. In 2003 I became a committee member of the Guild helping to organise the annual one-act festival.

In 2009 I directed and appeared in ‘Costa Del Packet’ by Anthony Booth; of ‘Till Death us do Part’ fame and Father of Cherie Blair. The 1970’s comedy sees four women off on a package holiday to Spain to be met by a very enthusiastic tour guide and a hotel not yet built! I directed the production and played the part of ‘Hump’ the tour guide. We had such fun with the play which was a hit with the audience and the adjudicator. We won the BBC Wiltshire audience award and I won the Audrey Suter trophy for best adult performance by an actress. Our adjudicator that year, Michael Kaiser told me that I had reminded him of a tour guide he had once met!

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The Audrey Suter trophy for best adult performance by an actress, (right) won by Paula for her performance in ‘Costa del Packet’ by the Clarendon Players, hj1act 2009.  The production also won The BBC Wiltshire Audience Award (rear)

One of my best hj1act moments came in 2012 when The Clarendon Players were festival runners up with ‘Interior Designs’ by Jimmy Chinn in which I played the part of Irene as well as co-directing. Our adjudicator that year was Robert Meadows and he summed up the production as “the work of a confident team, who’d consciously approached and crafted the play in a way that was always involving and always intriguing too”

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Paula (left) performing in ‘Interior Designs’ hj1act 2012

Last year my husband and I formed RWB productions to present an original script about WW1 at hj1act.  The play ‘There Just Has to be a Better Way’ told the story of three men and their wives during WW1. To our delight the play won best original production and gained nominations for dramatic achievement, technical endeavour and best actor.

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A stirring moment from ‘There Just Has to be a Better Way’, written and directed by Paula and Derek Clifford, hj1act 2014

Performing and acting at hj1act is only a part of the festival experience for me. As a committee member of the hosts, the Swindon and District Theatre Guild, work begins in the autumn prior to the festival. The planning for hj1act is a big undertaking and the organising committee work extremely hard especially in the lead up to the festival. However the rewards are huge, meeting new entering companies and being reunited with returning ones, meeting and learning from our adjudicator, the enjoyment of watching new writing of various genres…..roll on hj1act 2015!’

 

Our thanks to Paula for popping into hjHQ to tell us all about herself. Paula brings a wealth of talent and experience to hj1act and plays a major role in the organisation and super smooth running of our festival. We’re not sure where she gets her energy, managing all this along with her day job and her writing, acting and directing but we’re certainly very glad she shares her sparkle with us!

 

NEXT UP: Guest blogger – our 2015 adjudicator Sue Doherty

 

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!


Our 2015 line-up is announced!

We’ve been very busy here at hjHQ getting all the hj1act 2015 entries organised and now we’re finally ready to announce our full line-up!

First up, here are the great shows that will get things going with a bang on our opening night:

Thursday 9th April

RWB Logo

RWB Productions

Moonwillow

a drama based on an original story by Amanda Davey
adapted for the stage by Paula Clifford

A young girl at the psychic fayre asks Moonwillow to help her ease her pain. Her story of love and loss is shockingly unexpected.

RWB return to the hj1act stage with another original production after their 2014 award winning play ‘There Just Has to be Another Way’ by Paula and Derek Clifford.  Find out more about RWB HERE and HERE

EXPECTED DURATION: 45 minutes

 HJ15 Logo MYA

Marlborough Young Actors

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

a drama by William Shakespeare
adapted by Anna Friend

William Shakespeare’s most popular comedy portrays the adventures of four young lovers and a group of amateur actors; their interactions with woodland fairies and a duke and duchess. Taking place in a mythical Athens and an enchanted forest, there is a handsome fairy king, a misguided parent, star-crossed lovers, a weaver who’s transformed into a half-donkey, wood sprites and elves. This work is widely performed around the world, and no wonder – it’s about the world’s most popular pastime, falling in love. But as Puck knows, falling in love can make fools of us all.

In their first hj1act, The Marlborough Young Actors take on this classic tale of fairies and love and with the help of a lot of wigs, music they will weave this magical story into something quite unique. High energy with lots of fun, frolics and the occasional bit of cross-dressing.

It’s Shakespeare but not as you know it!

We’re very excited to welcome Marlborough Young Actors to hj1act; their debut here is a wonderful addition to our vibrant Youth Section.

Find out more about Marlborough Young Actors HERE and HERE

Language: Non-offensive

EXPECTED DURATION: 55 minutes

 

Curtain up is at 7.15pm and there will be a short interval between the two plays. To conclude the evening our GoDA adjudicator Sue Doherty will take to the stage to deliver her adjudication on the evening’s productions.

 

Get your tickets now from the Arts Centre Box Office on (01793) 524481

Swindon Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon, SN1 4BJ

Tickets are £10.50 and £8 concessions. Ask at the Box Office for other great deals!

 

NEXT UP: Our Friday Night line-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!


New College announce their entry

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Swindon’s New College have announced their entry into hj1act 2015!

Just before Christmas the college’s A2 drama students performed their devised plays at the Pheonix Theatre and we went along to watch. You can read our story about it HERE

Over two nights we were treated to four very different plays which were entirely devised, written, directed and performed by the students as part of their A2 course. There to assess the performances were head of drama Natalie Kitching and her drama teacher colleague Claire Smart. ‘We’re looking for good performances of course’, said Natalie, ‘but we also want to see each group working well as a team across the whole process; from the initial collaboration to how well they worked together to bring their plays to the stage’.

The first night we saw:

‘Marked’

by Rebecca Crumbie, Liam Duke, Lucy Phelps, Yasim Rees and Kiara Wakely

Marked follows three youths at the time of the Holocaust. Based on true stories, tragedy, fear and tyranny await the characters as fate comes knocking. We follow Eva, Elliot and Evangeline on their struggle to survive what life throws at them.

‘Our Cold Society’

by Keegan Backhouse, Daniella Faircloth, David Lloyd, Phillip Olagoke, Amber Sheppard and Trisha Telles.

Our Cold Society was based on the stimulus ‘Iron Sky’ (a song by Paulo Nutini) and was about dictatorship in the world.

The second night’s performances were:

‘Waking Reality’

by Celine Clitherow, Karolina Huntley, Henry Leigh and Rebecca Watson.

Waking Reality was based on a piece of Banksy art as a stimulus and was about the reality of following your dreams.

‘Under the Bridge’

by Saskia Clarke, David Howard, Luke Pevereal, Bradley Stallard and Bethany Rawsthorn.

Set in a dystopian future, this play explores the origins, motivations and mentality of internet trolls. Four stories are interwoven to examine those who overcome the psychology of fear, and those who don’t make it out.

Under the Bridge _winner

Under the Bridge!!

by Saskia Clarke, David Howard, Luke Pevereal, Bradley Stallard and Bethany Rawsthorn

Natalie Kitching gave us her thoughts on the winning play:

‘Under the Bridge was selected because it was a clever and thought provoking depiction of internet trolling. This is a contemporary issue and the group successfully highlighted a social issue that made the audience think. It was also highly stylised and a polished piece of theatre’.

We would certainly agree with that! But what about the course itself? What does it prepare the students for?

‘The A Level in Drama at New College is a creative but demanding course’ says Natalie. ‘My aim is for students to study Drama and Theatre History in a fun and creative environment but also apply the discipline and professionalism needed in the industry. We study a vast amount of different theatre disciplines and have a flourishing Drama department which attracts like minded students who want to throw themselves into this all consuming subject!’

It’s certainly an exciting and challenging course! So what about hj1act? How do the students benefit from being part of our festival?

‘I think the One Act Festival is a fantastic event and opportunity for my students to perform professionally. Past students have said that the feedback from the festival judges has been constructive and inspiring. A few of our students have even won awards! The chance to perform in the festival gives the students something else to aim for, other than their actual exam performances’.

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Thanks so much to Natalie, Claire and all the New College A2 students who worked so hard on their plays and brought us those great performances.  And congratulations to the winning team and their production of ‘Under the Bridge’. I think we can agree that our festival is lucky to have these talented stars of the future and we wish them luck with their performance at hj1act 2015 in April!

 

NEXT UP: Our 2015 line-up is announced!

 

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!