Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal had its own red-carpet event at the weekend as it hosted one of the preliminary rounds of the All England Theatre Festival (AETF).
Taking place over three evenings between 11 and 13 February, audiences were treated to a range of five exciting productions from amateur drama groups, including entries from two youth groups.
The Zetland Cup for best overall production went to Sedgefield Players Youth Section for their production of I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a poignant piece by Celeste Raspanti set in the Jewish ghetto of Terezin. The company also won awards for best technical achievement and stage management; and best youth group.
Best actor in a principal role went to Craig Hanaway of Valley Players for his performance as Lazarus in Keeping the Feast by Djenane Watkins and best actress in a principal role went to Sarah Legender of Sedgefield Players who played Cherry in The Night Before Christmas by Anthony Nielson. Terry West of Sedgefield Players also picked up best supporting role for his portrayal of the Elf in The Night Before Christmas and the People’s Award for the best overall production as voted for by the audience was won by Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society for Laughter in the Shadow of the Trees by James Prideaux.
Valley Players’ Sarah Pattison was awarded the Adjudicator’s Cup as the harpist in Keeping the Feast and the award for the best actor/actress in a supporting role was won by Sally Lewis for her portrayal as Lazarus’ mother in the same production.
Tom Guest, Director of both the Sedgefield Players’ productions said: “Taking part in the Festival was a fantastic experience for the company and it was a delight to perform on the stage of this wonderful historic theatre. The feedback from the adjudicator is always very useful and our Youth section is now looking forward to progressing to the next round of the competition.”
This six-month-long competition is organised regionally and, after a series of preliminary , quarter and semi-final rounds across the country, culminates in a Grand Final, in which the four ‘Area Champions’ compete for the title of ‘English Champions’.
Sedgefield Players Youth Section will join the other winners of the Northern Area division in a semi-final held on 30 April to 1 May at The Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight. The England final takes place at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts at Maidenhead on 4 June.
PHOTO: The regional winners of the 2016 One-act Play Festival take to the stage of The Georgian Theatre Royal.