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Original Playwriting

Original Playwriting Competition

The SFD is once again running their annual Original Playwriting Competition for one-act plays. Entries are invited from authors living anywhere in the South-west of England, including young writers under 25 whose work will be judged as a separate category. A list of previous winners can be viewed here .

The closing date for submission of scripts for the 2017 competition is 12 noon on Wednesday 13th September.

The Entry Form is available to download here, and the Competition Rules can be read here.

Once all the entries have been received, they will be assessed by a panel of readers who will use their varied experiences in the world of theatre to select a short-list of five or six scripts. From these a winner in both the general and young writer category will be agreed. The author of the winning script in the general category will be awarded a cash prize of £100 and a silver trophy; the young writer will received a cash prize of £100. There may be up to two highly-commended runners-up who will receive cash prizes of £25. These awards will be made at the County Drama Festival in March 2018.

However, there is another side to this competition...

Once the shortlisted scripts have been agreed, they will be made available to groups in the Somerset Fellowship of Drama. We would like directors to consider these new plays for production at the County Drama Festival. No royalties are payable for the performance in the Festival and the SFD will offer member groups £100 towards the expenses of mounting a production. Please give this some serious thought ~ production of original scripts did very well at the Somerset Festival again this year and in the past, productions of original scripts have won through to the English semi-final of the All-England Theatre Festival.

Original scripts that are performed as part of the All-England Theatre Festival (of which the County Drama Festival is a Round 1), also qualify for entry into the national competition for the Geoffrey Whitworth Trophy and may be considered for entry into the George Taylor competition, at the discretion of the adjudicator and festival organiser.

Synopses of the scripts that were shortlisted for the 2016 competition are shown below and pdfs are provided for download by kind permission of the authors. The scripts may be read but not used for performance without the express permission of the author. In the first instance, if you are considering a production of one of the scripts, please contact Pam Hillier, Co-ordinator for the Original Playwriting Competition ( ).

Pam H Oct 16







The 2016 Award Winners
Winning Script

The Secret Life of Quentin Dangerfield

by Tinsley Collins

Tim/Cafe owner (same actor), 30-45
Brenda, similar age
Edna/Doris (same actor), similar age
Fred/Gendarme (same actor), similar age
French Seaman/ Waiter/ New Tim (same actor), similar age
French girl, teens to twenties
Setting: Outside a pavement café in Paris, twenty-five years ago

Tim and Brenda are on a day trip to Paris but have lost their friends, Fred and Edna. Brenda's principal concern is that her shoes will show everyone that she is a respectable woman with good dress sense, but Tim's head is full of romantic visions of an idealised Paris occupied by artists and poets and dreamers and he announces that he intends to finish writing his existentialist novel there. As he proceeds with it, fiction and reality become entwined and Tim starts to wonder if he is dreaming or even losing his mind. Is the beautiful Parisian girl that apparently only he can see real or a figment of his imagination, and has Doris the waitress who Tim keeps accidentally molesting really been murdered? Character's histories overlap and change places as Tim's book progresses and it seems that Tim might even be turning into the fictional Quentin Dangerfield. Whatever the situation, at the end Tim goes off with the French girl to follow his dream of living a life that turns on love and passion and sex and death, but in fact was Tim just a character in someone else's dream?
Estimated Running Time: 55 minutes

Highly Commended
Joe's Comeback
by Les Clarke

Cast: Joe Peters (male mid to late sixties - suffers from Alzheimer's and senile dementia)
Ruth Peters (female mid to late sixties - ever patient and caring)
Tony Peters (male early thirties - bright, witty and caring - loves his parents dearly)
Setting: The lounge of Joe and Ruth Peters

Joe suffers from Alzheimer's and senile dementia, and Ruth battles to keep him at home tending to his every need. Tony, their son, is visiting today and Ruth can't wait to see him. Ruth has recently acquired the services of a qualified carer that has enabled her to do her own shopping and have some time to herself. But Joe doesn't seem to get on with the carer and this is causing problems for Ruth's newfound freedom.
Estimated Running Time: 35 minutes

Zen and the Art of Talking Turnip
by Alan M Kent

Cast: Jocasta and Jen, Geoff and Pasca
Setting: Cornwall

All hell breaks loose when moneyed Londoners Jocasta and Geoff move into a Cornish village, next to locals Jen and Pasca. At first, neither is sure about the other, but as time goes on, liaisons dangerous becomes the business of the day. In the midst of nerdy on-line gaming and discreet bird-watching, swapping partners is like... well... yin and yang. Written entirely in rhyme, this play examines identity and sexuality in the modern world that is Kernow. Enjoy the Karma and expect to understand the philosophy that is Zen and the Art of Talking Turnip.
Estimated Running Time: 30 minutes

To John
by Lorna Evans

Mavis 70 to 80, John's wife (also playing a Headmistress in 1939)
Laura 50s, John's eldest daughter (also playing a young lady in 1950 and an Air Traffic Controller)
Gillian 50s, John's youngest daughter (also playing a young lady in 1950 and an Air Traffic Controller)
Ron 50s, Gillian's husband (also playing a schoolteacher in 1939, a young lad and RAF Officer in 1950, and older John)
Sam 20 to 30, John's grandson (also playing young John in 1939, a young lad in 1950 and an Aircraft Controller )
Setting: John's funeral, 2014

This is the true life story of an amazing man called John. It charts his rise from a dislike of academia during his World War II schooldays, through the years of the Cold War, where, as a Vulcan Bomber Captain, he spearheaded our front line of defence, and finally on to his sad demise due to Alzheimer's. In a light-hearted and often funny way, the play poignantly emphasises the values and traditions of his era, and the fortitude and resilience with which these were upheld. Each member of the cast takes on several roles as we journey with John through his life, revealing his courage in risking his own life to save colleagues and civilians, his uncanny ability to ‘make-do-and-mend', and his inspirational family life.
Estimated Running Time: 35 minutes

The Love I Lost
by Les Clarke

Cast: Penny (an elderly lady - very witty, charming and playful)
Dan (a typical student)
Setting: One morning, a seat at a bus stop

Dan is sat at a bus stop texting on his mobile. Penny enters and enquires about the time of the bus, needing to know whether or not she has missed it. They are both from totally different worlds but they strike up a conversation.
Estimated Running Time: 30 minutes