The Semi-Finals: news and what’s next for our champions!

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Quirky Bird Theatre win the adjudicator’s award, the Stanley and Madge Williams Shield, AETF Western Area Semi-Finals, 7th May 2016, L-R Rosie Walker, Anna Friend (director), Kayleigh Gazzard, Yazmin Priestner-Burton (foreground), Joshua Rogers

The All England Theatre Festival Western Area Semi-Finals were held at The Merlin Theatre in Frome, Somerset last Saturday, 7th May. hj1act graduates took up 50% of the running order; our 2016 champions Quirky Bird Theatre with ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham and Lechlade Players who had won through as the highest scoring runners-up with ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov. Read more about their amazing winning journeys HERE, HERE and HERE.

Also competing were Colyton Theatre Group (Western Winners) with ‘The Ladybirds’ by Tony Layton and St. Alban’s Players (Wessex Winners) with ‘Interior Designs’ by Jimmie Chinn. All the teams had won through at least two previous rounds and so the standards were high and the competition very stiff!

Adjudicator Jan Palmer Sayer from GoDA gave praise for such an excellent day of theatre, hailing all four teams as ‘the best in the West’.

But there could only be one winner and St Alban’s Players were victorious with their excellent performance of ‘Interior Designs’. They won The Broughton Chatwin Memorial Trophy as overall winners and will progress to the English Finals in June.

Quirky Bird Theatre certainly impressed with another storming performance of ‘Tusk, Tusk’ and were worthy winners of The Stanley and Madge Williams Shield. This is a stunning trophy which is given out at the adjudicator’s discretion. Jan Palmer Sayer noted that each of the plays had qualities that made them stand out with lovely moments and great drama. ‘But Quirky Bird Theatre’s performance pipped it for me’ said Jan as she awarded director Anna Friend this impressive silver shield. She added further praise saying they had done a magnificent job with a very convincing cast. ‘They all had excellent interplay with beautiful tumbling of dialogue’, said Jan,  praising the natural delivery which made it very real. ‘These are tremendous actors’ she added. ‘They gave terrific performances and captured the danger of this very tough, challenging play.’

Lechlade Players also earned high praise for another wonderful performance of ‘The Proposal’. In her adjudication Jan Palmer Sayer noted that all three actors had fine voices that cracked the pace right from the start. ‘There were some really nice moments in this lively performance’ said Jan, ‘they certainly understand how to get the comedy out’.

Congratulations to all the teams for a wonderful day of theatre and good luck to St Alban’s Players at the English Finals!

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Jan Palmer Sayer of GoDA and Martin Clifton (background) Chairman of the Swindon and District Theatre Guild and Vice-Chairman of the Western Area at the AETF Western Area Semi-Finals, the Merlin Theatre, Frome, 7th May 2016

What’s next for Quirky Bird?

Although neither of our hj1act winners went through last Saturday, you still have the chance to see some incredible theatre from these amazing teams.

By popular demand, Quirky Bird Theatre have announced they will be performing the full version (both acts) of  ‘Tusk, Tusk’ at Swindon’s Arts Centre on Thursday 30th June. If you saw them at hj1act you’ll know they performed Act I as their festival entry. But with so many audience members saying they were desperate to know how things turned out in the rest of the play, director Anna Friend has decided to stage this last, one-off, special performance. So if you missed them at the festival, are keen to know more or just want to enjoy seeing this fantastic play one last time, now’s your chance!

For tickets and more information go to the Arts Centre Box Office HERE or the Quirky Bird Theatre website HERE.

Lechlade Players’ plans

Following the terrible fire at Lechlade Players home performance venue, the Lechlade Memorial Hall early this morning (Monday 9th May), the LPs have had to re-adjust their plans a little, as you can imagine. The fire not only destroyed the entire building but the LPs lost all their equipment, props and costumes too.

Not to be downhearted, the group have rallied from this awful setback and are already looking to the future. This Thursday sees the group meet for readings and to discuss plans for their autumn and spring productions. In the meantime, some of the LPs actors will be in action over the summer as they perform with other groups. One of these is The Cotswold Arcadians who stage large-scale open air Shakespearean theatre productions each summer. You can go along to see them perform ‘A  Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at Hatherop Castle from 18th – 23rd July. For details click HERE

All of us here at hjHQ send our very best wishes to the Lechlade Players and hope they are able to find an alternative performance space very soon.  If anyone is interested in going along to take part in the LPs productions or have any help they can offer following the fire, please contact their Chairperson Jenny Thompson on (01367) 252040

 

As we bid a fond farewell to our 2016 festival journey, all that remains to be said is a huge THANK YOU to all our wonderful entrants, our amazing audiences and the hjHQ team for all their hard work. And a massive CONGRATULATIONS to Quirky Bird Theatre and Lechlade Players for your great success. You’ve done us proud!

 

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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Quirky Bird Theatre win through to the Semi-Finals!

If you’re a keen hj1act watcher you’ll already know the great news that Quirky Bird Theatre are Quarter Final Winners!

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Quirky Bird Theatre win at the AETF Southern and Mercia Division Quarter Finals, for their performance of ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham, 23rd April 2016 (Photo credit: Ashley Heath)

The celebrations following our fantastic festival finale at hj1act 2016 had barely died down before we were off again for the next round of the All England Theatre Festival just one week later.

These were Saturday’s AETF Quarter Finals for the Southern and Mercier Divisions.

Appearing at the Bouverie Hall in Pewsey were five companies who had won through from their respective first rounds. We all know our fabulous hj1act winners were Quirky Bird Theatre and runners-up were Lechlade Players (read more HERE).  The other teams competing were Oasis Youth Theatre with ‘I Love You Mum’ by Mark Wheeller, Southampton University Players with ‘Fumed Oak’ by Noel Coward and The Shaftesbury Players with ‘100’ by D. Petterle, N. Monaghan and C. Heimann.

It was a packed day full of wonderful theatre which GoDA adjudicator Alan Hayes hailed as a celebration of winners who should all be very proud of what they have already achieved.

Quirky Bird Theatre triumphed again with ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham winning the Joan Cheshire Trophy for the Winning Play. Rosie Walker who plays Maggie in ‘Tusk, Tusk’ also won the James Grout Trophy for Best Youth Actor.

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Quirky Bird Theatre director Anna Friend receives the Joan Cheshire Trophy for the Winning Play from adjudicator Alan Hayes of GoDA, Southern and Mercia Divisions Quarter Finals, 23rd April 2016

Adjudicator Alan Hayes praised the Quirky Bird Theatre cast’s achievement saying ‘these were very fine performances from such young actors who showed skills beyond their years’.

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Rosie Walker of Quirky Bird Theatre receives the James Grout Trophy for Best Youth actor from GoDA’s Alan Hayes for her performance as Maggie in ‘Tusk, Tusk’ by Polly Stenham, Southern and Mercia Division Quarter Finals, 23rd April, 2016

Our hj1act runners-up the Lechlade Players were also winners on Saturday taking away the Edward Taylor Trophy for Best Acting. Coming in as runners-up in the festival once again they impressed the adjudicator with their comic timing,  great use of physicality and rapid-fire delivery of Chekhov’s quick-witted farce ‘The Proposal’.

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Dominic Valentine receives the Edward Taylor Trophy for Best Acting from adjudicator Alan Hayes, GoDA, for Lechlade Players performance of ‘The Proposal’ by Anton Chekhov, Western and Mercia Division Quarter Finals, 23rd April, 2016.

Other winners on Saturday were….

The David Bushby Trophy for Best Direction won by Bridget Wilkinson for ‘Fumed Oak’ by Noel Coward, performed by Southampton University Players

The Peter Haddon Trophy for Technical Excellence won by Oasis Youth Theatre for ‘I Love You Mum’ by Mark Wheeller

Congratulations to Quirky Bird Theatre, Lechlade Players and all the teams who performed on Saturday!

Special thanks also to the festival organisers and to Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Society who hosted this event so brilliantly.

The Semi-Finals

Quirky Bird Theatre now go through to the semi-finals at The Merlin Theatre in Frome on Saturday 7th May, just two short weeks away.  The Lechlade Players also have the chance to go through but their selection process is a little more nail-biting. They must wait for all the other quarter final’s results to come in! The marks will then be added up and the highest scoring runner-up will be the lucky group who moves on to the semis. We’re keeping everything crossed and will let you know as soon as we do.

If you would like to go along and support our amazing winners, here are all the details….

The Western Area Semi-Finals of the All England Theatre Festival (more HERE)

Date: Saturday 7th May 2016

Venue: The Merlin Theatre, Bath Road, Frome, Somerset. BA11 2HG (more HERE)

Adjudicator: Jan Palmer-Sayer, GoDA (more HERE)

Tickets: One session £10.50 , two sessions £16.00

Buy tickets….

Online HERE

By phone on (01373) 465949

On the door (from 45 mins before the performance)

The Merlin Theatre has free parking and disabled access.

The groups and running order will be confirmed very soon so watch this space!

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Quirky Bird Theatre celebrate their quarter final’s win. Congratulations and see you at the semi-finals! (Photo credit: Ashley Heath)

 

UPDATE:  Lechlade Players have made it through to the semis on 7th May!! The marks from all the other quarter finals have been added up and they are the highest scoring runners-up. They’ll join Quirky Bird Theatre at the Merlin Theatre in Frome. Congratulations! 

 

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!

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

 


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.

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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!
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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!

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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

 

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

Opening Night!

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Lechlade Players perform an extract from ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare, hj1act 2016 [Photo credit: Doug Kirby]

Last night was opening night for hj1act 2016 at Swindon’s Arts Centre and what a great night it was!

The Lechlade Players made sure the festival started in impressive style with their performance of an extract from ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare. The play opened with a violent storm recreated by clever use of light and sound and a young girl running onto the stage through the auditorium. Only a few minutes in and we knew we were in for a dramatic treat! Simply but powerfully staged and with just three actors who, our adjudicator noted, really understood the Shakespearean text and intent of the piece, this was a fantastic opener. Congratulations Lechlade Players!

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Jackrill Productions performing (ab)solution by Helen Ackrill, hj1act 2016 [Photo credit: Doug Kirby]

Next up we had festival newbies, Jackrill Productions, performing (ab)solution by Helen Ackrill. This was a complete contrast to the previous play with a modern setting and language!  We saw three brothers all vying for the affections of one girl, the tense and ultimately fatal consequences of which unravelled through the characters’ confessions to their priest. As each brother sought penance for his sins, we saw a complex story of love and lust unfold which culminated in tragedy for some, redemption for others. This was a cracking play with powerful performances. Well done Jackrill Productions!

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Athenaeum Limelight Players perform ‘Loose threads’ by Marc Cox, hj1act 2016 [Photo credit: Doug Kirby]

For the finale to our opening night we welcomed another group new to hj1act, the Athenaeum Limelight Players. The ALPs had travelled from Warminster to bring us ‘Loose Threads’, written and directed by Marc Cox who also played the central character, simply known to us as ‘The Patient’. A session in a psychiatrist’s consulting room with a woman who may or may not be a real psychiatrist revealed a tortured story from a troubled man. Through flashbacks to childhood trauma we began to see why this patient was so haunted by his past and understand his longing to ‘go back’.   This was a gripping story which left us guessing right to the end. Congratulations ALPs!

Our adjudicator, Mike Kaiser from The Guild of Drama Adjudicators (GoDA) rounded off the night with his adjudications giving his reactions to the night’s performances with lots of fascinating insights and constructive feedback.

A very impressive opening night and if you weren’t there, where were you?  Never fear, there’s still time to join in the fun as we have three more great plays to showcase tonight.

Starting at 7.15pm we have Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatics Youth Society with The Laundry Room, then The Lechalde Players second entry The Proposal by Anton Chekhov and to finish the evening we have RWB Productions with So What Would You Do? by Derek Clifford. 

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 Friday

 

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

 


Tech Sunday

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Stage Manager Dick Clark discusses technical requirements with the teams, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

Yesterday was ‘Tech Sunday’ which is the day where our entering companies come to Swindon’s Arts Centre for their technical appointment in preparation for their performance in our festival which opens on Thursday. As you can probably imagine, Tech Sunday is an incredibly busy day! There are a million and one things to do to make sure our entering companies have all they need for their performance. Happily everything went smoothly and even though things were pretty full-on, we managed to snap a few shots on various cameras and phones to give you a taste of our day. [Pictures taken on phones will only post quite small here – apologies. We’ve included them anyway as it’s still fun to get a peek behind the scenes, even if it’s a small one!]

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RWB Productions get the feel of the stage, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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PVADYS lighting check, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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Moving sets into the backstage lift, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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Assistant Festival Director Ashley Heath makes sure the entering companies’ programme details are correct, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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Front of House Coordinator Paula Clifford gets all the festival admin organised, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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Lechlade Players work on their lighting plot, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

In the wings

In the wings, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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Lechlade Players walk through a scene, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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Stage Manager Dick Clark makes sure all the paperwork is in order, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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Athenaeum Limelight Players try out their set, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

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Technical Manager Dom Bray works the desk, hj1act 2016, Tech Sunday

So now we’re all set for opening night on Thursday and very excited to see what hj1act 2016 brings. Huge thanks to all the entering companies for working so hard and to the hj1act team for making it all run so smoothly. Massive thanks also to Dave Jell at Swindon’s Arts Centre for all that he and his staff do to support our festival.

Don’t forget to book your tickets at the Arts Centre Box Office on (01793) 524481

See you all there!

 

Up Next: Opening Night

 

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

Lechlade Players enter two plays for 2016!

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Lomov and Chubokov (Dominic Valentine and Andy Rand) rehearsing Chekhov’s ‘The Proposal’ for hj1act 2016

The Lechlade Players have been festival regulars for a number of years now and have won several acting accolades. This year they are returning with not one but two plays! In the year that we mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, they will be treating us to the opening scene of what is arguably the most dramatic of the Bard’s plays, ‘The Tempest’. At the helm is local director, speech and drama coach John Williams and we can’t think of a more spectacular way to kick off our festival.

But before we hear from John, let’s first say hello to the director of the Lechlade Players second play, Andy Pritchard who is making his hj1act debut this year with Chekhov’s hilarious farce ‘The Proposal’.

hjHQ: Welcome to hj1act Andy! We’re really happy you’ll be part of our festival this year. John’s a seasoned festival director but this will be a new experience for you.

ANDY:  Yes, this is the first play I’ve entered for hj1act and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’m working with a cast I know well individually, although this is the first play they’ve performed together – and watching them build the rapid, intelligent interaction that the piece demands has been fascinating.

hjHQ: Tell us about ‘The Proposal’.

ANDY: Chekhov didn’t initially think much of ‘The Proposal’ and told its first director to “roll cigarettes out of it for all I care”. I rate it rather more highly – it’s a fast-paced farce with an almost Pythonesque edge to it and I hope will fit enjoyably into a festival like this.

hjHQ: We’re really looking forward to this – we do love a comedy! It looks set to be a wonderful part of our Friday night line-up on 15th April. Thanks Andy!

 

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Lomov and Chubokov (Dominic Valentine and Andy Rand) rehearsing Chekhov’s ‘The Proposal’ for hj1act 2016

hjHQ: And now we welcome John Williams to give us his thoughts on bringing the Bard to us this year.

Hi John! So great to welcome you back for hj1act 2016. You have a lot of festival experience and you’ve brought your speech and drama expertise to many a production over the years. Tell us a bit about that. 

JOHN: I have been entering plays at the festival for quite a number of years and have been successful in getting a variety of awards. My approach as a director is in working with the actors to present a good standard of work and to tell the story in a clear way to the audience. My experience as a Speech and Drama coach and as an examiner enables me to facilitate the actors in developing and improving performance techniques. It is always good to hear an adjudication of a play that one enters and the feedback that very often echoes what has been discussed and actioned during the rehearsal period. The festival also helps and reassures actors on their skills and on any advice to improve in any future work.

hjHQ: We couldn’t agree more John! And as so many of us are enjoying this special year of Shakespeare celebrations, it’s very fitting that we will have one of his plays at hj1act. Tell us about your entry.

JOHN: I am entering scenes from the Tempest as this is our contribution to the Shakespeare anniversary  this year, it’s also a challenge for actors to deliver  the wonderful verbal images of the language to an audience. This requires energy and a strong need to communicate those words in telling the story.

hjHQ:  We’re sure your cast will be well prepared  for the challenge. You mentioned the adjudicator and we know that for some companies the adjudication process can be quite daunting, especially if they’re new to festival performing.  With the benefit of your expertise and experience, what are your thoughts?

JOHN: The purpose of an adjudication is to assess objectively to what is heard and seen during a performance and  to inform the audience and give constructive feedback that encourages and helps groups when presenting in the future. An adjudicator might ask him or herself the following questions.

What kind of play is it that they are doing?

How well are they doing it?

How worthwhile is the doing?

In working with the  three actors on the Tempest scenes the objective is to enable them to find their own interpretation and focus and again to tell the story with clarity and a sense of the character which hopefully they will inhabit through the rehearsal process and display on the evening performance.

hjHQ: Thanks so much for those insights John. We’re always fascinated to hear people’s thoughts and it’s so helpful to get an inside view from someone as experienced as yourself!  We are really looking forward to seeing ‘The Tempest’ on Thursday 14th April when it will open our festival in spectacular style!

JOHN: Thank you and good wishes to the groups this year.

 

Coming soon: Tech Sunday is 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!

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

Jackrill Productions make their hj1act debut

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Jackrill Productions – the cast rehearse (Ab)solution for hj1act 2016

Here at hj1act we love it when a new company decides to bring their work to our festival. It’s a great opportunity for us to meet new actors, directors, writers and producers and for our audiences to see new faces and what they can do. It’s also a wonderful way to showcase even more great local talent and get their work seen by a wider audience.

Which is why we were thrilled when Stu Jackson and Helen Ackrill of Jackrill Productions decided to enter hj1act this year. They not only bring with them an exciting line-up of local actors but also a new play, written by Helen, which looks set to really light up our opening night.

So before we all meet them at the festival we thought it would be great to get the inside skinny on all things Jackrill!

hjHQ: Welcome to hjHQ! We’re very excited that you’re on-board this year. Tell us about Jackrill Productions.

HELEN:  Jackrill is the brainchild of myself, Helen Ackrill, and Stu Jackson. We started working on film and theatre projects together back in 2014. As various projects gathered momentum, it was clear that a production company between us was needed, and so Jackrill was born!

hjHQ: Hence the name – genius! How are you feeling about entering hj1act for the first time?

HELEN: Some slight nerves, but the opportunity to get the work seen by a wider audience is something we are very excited about.

hjHQ: Your play, (Ab)solution, is an original play written by you; what can you tell us about it?

HELEN: The story is about family, faith, and the consequences of keeping secrets: when three brothers, brought up in a strict household, lust after the same woman it sets them on a course that threatens to destroy their familial bond. We wanted to explore how the confessional booth could act as a visual metaphor for the state of mind of the characters within it, which we hope we have achieved.

hjHQ: How do you hope the hj1act audiences will respond?

HELEN: Hopefully there are characters that most people can recognise, and one of the aims of the play is that audiences come out with a deeper understanding of some of the traumatic, real-life issues people sometimes face.

hjHQ: This will be your first time performing in front of a hj1act adjudicator. How are you feeling about that?

HELEN: Whilst it can sometimes be difficult to hear critique of work that has had so much of ourselves poured into it, we tend to be pragmatic and use all feedback (both constructive criticism and praise) to move forward in a positive direction.

hjHQ: How has the casting and rehearsal process been going? Any challenges?

HELEN:  The biggest challenge for rehearsals has been getting the cast together, as although most live locally, some live as far away as London. And of course, we all have commitments outside the play as well. Effective communication is the key

hjHQ: Thanks so much Helen for sharing your thoughts with us today . We’re really looking forward to seeing you all perform (Ab)solution at this year’s festival. It’s going to be a cracking part of our opening night line-up on Thursday 14th April.

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Jackrill Productions – the cast rehearse (Ab)solution for hj1act 2016

Meanwhile, if you’d like to find out more about Helen, Stu and Jackrill Productions go to their Facebook page HERE.

 

Coming soon: Lechlade Players enter two plays for 2016!

 

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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