This year’s one-act play festival saw six exceptional performances by amateur drama groups competing in one of the preliminary rounds of the prestigious All England Theatre Festival (AETF), including a premiere of 'This is Yorkshire'.
Taking place over four evenings between 11-14 April, audiences were treated to a range of exciting productions from across the region.
This is Yorkshire, a hard-hitting new play inspired by the blistering 2006 film This is England, was staged for the first time at the Festival and took two of the awards for best youth group and the Adjudicator’s Cup, which was given for the production’s outstanding direction. Performed by The Georgian Theatre Royal’s Youth Theatre, the play was written and directed by Youth Theatre Officer Aimee Shields and provides a sobering and powerful commentary on the bitter reality of racism set against the political landscape of Thatcher’s Britain. The production will also be showcased at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer.
The Zetland Cup for best overall production went to Sedgefield Players for their production of The Jewish Wife, a powerful play by Bertolt Brecht highlighting the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany. The company also won an award for best set design and Sharon Davey, Jacqui O’Meara, Sarah Atkinson, Viv Jacobs and Sarah Legender shared the award for best actress in a principal role for their joint portrayl of the wife.
The award for best actor in a principal role was made jointly to Chris Donnelly and Simon Gibson of Allerton Players for their performances in The Dreaming by Richard James.
Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society also scooped a number of awards. The prize for best character performance in a supporting role was given jointly to Mike Walker and Chris Wellings in Blackadder 3: Sense & Senility by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton and the production was also singled out for best technical achievement and stage management. RADS also won the coveted People’s Award for The Proposal by Anton Chekhov for the best overall production as voted for by the audience and Helena Langford received the award for best single performance by an actress or actor in a supporting role.
Sedgefield Players will join the other winners of the Northern Area division in a semi-final held on 6 and 7 May at the Saltburn Community Centre, Saltburn-by-the-Sea. The England final takes place at the Mitchell Arts Centre, Hanley, Stoke on Trent on 2 June.