Southern Counties Drama Festival once again had a very successful week at the
Barn Theatre, Oxted. The result was in the balance until the final play on the
final evening on Saturday, making this year's festival a nail biting finish.
announcing the results, the adjudicator, Arthur Rochester, summed up the week
and praised the festival organisers for the superb and buoyant festival, so different
to when he last adjudicated at the Barn in 2005. He praised all the teams for
their contribution towards some memorable performances. He also congratulated
all of the youth entries for rising to the challenge of entering a competitive
festival and hoped that they took on board his comments and found them constructive.
to the continued support from the Gatwick Airport Community Trust, the festival
was able to give a cheque for £100 to the two teams' 'Barfield Players' and the
'Young Oxted Players' who progressed to the next round of the All-England Theatre
Best Actress Award - Sophie Kisilevsky
Best Actor Award - Richard
Barfield Players – The Window Cleaner
was a two-hander by Gillian Plowman in which Jill the window cleaner surprises
Daryl, a burglar, in a flat for which she has the keys. They discover a great
deal about one another as the situation unwinds and tension builds. The adjudicator
said that Sophie Kisilevsky, winner of the Best Actress Award had great
vocal variety and Richard Jeffreys, winner of the Best Actor Award moved
easily from laconic to bluster and back again as the situation required. The set
was praised for giving the impression of wealth which the lighting complemented.
He congratulated the director, Sandra Barfield on using the whole of the stage,
with the moves flowing naturally as the action demanded. Barfield Players will
now represent the Southern Counties Drama Festival at the Quarter Finals of the
All-England Theatre Festival of One-act Plays at The Playhouse, Walton-on-Thames
on Sunday March 7th.
Airport Community Trust Award for Best Youth Production
The Young Oxted
Players – 1 of 56
Young Oxted Players, playing at their home venue, had another excellent festival,
repeating the success they have had in the last two years. They scooped two awards,
the Gatwick Airport Community Trust Award for Best Youth Production and
Festival Runner Up and as such they will also represent the Southern Counties
Drama Festival in the Quarter Finals on Sunday. The play which was written and
directed by nineteen year old Ben Atterbury told the story of Joshua Thompson
who found himself a prisoner of his own imagination when he fell into a coma and
we followed him as he tumbled through his memories. The adjudicator congratulated
Ben as it was a considerable achievement in one so young to come second in a drama
Atterbury's view of writing and directing a play for SCDF
'I had been involved
with the festival before, but only ever in an acting capacity, I had loved it
both times, the opportunity to pit your talents against other societies in competition
had evoked something very competitive in me and I was hooked.
When I knew that
I would be taking a year out of school and would have time free from September
through until March, I knew I wanted to test my direction skills, and threw my
name into the hat to direct the Young Oxted Player's SCDF entry. I got the job,
and then set about trying to choose an appropriate one act play for a group of
older teenagers to perform. Nothing. I couldn't even find one play that interested
And then I hit on an idea, why not do it myself? The scale
and ambition put me off this initially but slowly I found myself coming round
to the idea and late in September I set about writing a one act play. I had always
enjoyed writing and the one rule I applied to this was to 'write from what you
know', so I based the whole idea around the formative experiences of life, from
birth to 18th birthday. Basing it this way allowed me to use a whole 20 years
worth of memories as a starting point for scene ideas, and from there the scenes
would spin off and take on a life of their own.
I finished a first draft within
a couple of weeks, had it passed by relevant society committees and then set about
casting, by this time aided by my wonderful assistant director Flo. We cast in
mid-october and throughout November I met with my cast in order to workshop my
still raw script. We cut, rewrote and invented scenes together until the balance
of the play was just right. The play was still all my own work, but this time
was invaluable as it helped me to find out what worked and what didn't, and have
the cast put their own touches on a play that I needed them to be 100% invested
Time moved on and throughout January and February we set about staging
it, spending time in cramped spaces imagining props, costumes and sets as we laid
the foundations for the production. In early February we built pieces of set,
a large bed on wheels, a big door frame splashed with paint. These were all things
that up until that point had been a fallacy, something I could only see when I
shut my eyes, but now they were a reality, the whole thing was so exciting.
rehearsed and rehearsed until finally February 25th came around; showtime. I was
all nervous energy as we set the stage and made final preparations. I wished good
luck upon my cast and left to find my seat in the audience. It was a nerve wracking
experience to watch but by the end I was brimming with pride. A great adjudication
followed and a second place was awarded; we were going to the next round.
whole experience of the SCDF has been nothing but positive, and has allowed me
to take steps towards furthering my own experiences and broadening my own horizons.
The experience has been nothing but positive.'
Award - Mary Pearson
Heathfield Drama Club - Hush Little Celia and Ernie's
This award can be given to anyone in the festival
at the discretion of the adjudicator. Heathfield Drama Club entered two youth
teams into the festival which the adjudicator felt was a considerable achievement
and worthy of his award.
Young Actress - Jessica Barrett
Best Young Actor - Matthew Martin
Drama Club -
Hush Little Celia
a large cast Arthur complimented a number of strong performances, including Jessica's
portrayal of Celia and Matthew who played opposite her as Todd. Hush Little Celia
by Joseph Wallace told the story of Celia who didn't talk. Her teachers wanted
to know why, her father was angry with her and the psychlogist wanted to help
but fellow student Todd tried to get close to her and through persistence, bad
poetry and a bizzare audition for Romeo and Juliet he did.
Oxted Players - Alternative Accommodation
Accommodation by Pam Valentine and directed for The Oxted Players by Tricia Whyte
tells the story of an elderly widowed mother and her three children who are meeting
to decide what should be done with mother. The children differ but mother has
other ideas. This was an excellent comedy and great entertainment set in mother's
sitting room, convincingly furnished.
groups taking part
Amateur Dramatic Society presented Sense of the Ridiculous by Rae Terence
which was based on the idea that hell was other people.
Players production Too Long an Autumn by Jimmie Chinn was about an old music
hall star living in a home for retired theatricals. Maisie, once a leading light
on the West End stage is a reluctant newcomer whose rebellious spirit challenges
Players production of Edward by Margaret Wood was about a friendship between
three women, spanning more than 60 years which is challenged when an innocent
game of scrabble reveals the truth surrounding their lives.
Theatre and Arts Club presented Fever by Reza de Wet which was the tale of
two sisters, one who travels to the Cape Colony to teach nine children English
and the other who stays at home in England.
Theatre Group who are a youth group based in Caterham presented Three Characters
in Search of a Verdict in which fairy tale characters get their day in court.
Drama Club’s Ernie's Incredible Illucinations has young Ernie worrying his
Mum and Dad with his 'illucinations' - to use their own words. They take him to
the doctor who, to put it mildly, is sceptical.
Youth Theatre Company presented Mark Ravenhill's Totally Over You in which
three teenage girls who have their hearts set on a glamorous lifestyle dump their
distinctly un-glamorous boyfriends. The boys however do not take this lying down.