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October 11 2019, News The Phoebe Rees

Barnstormers pick up the trophy for Best Production from SFD Chairman Sam Allen

Minehead’s Barnstormers stormed to a terrific win at the Phoebe Rees Presentation Evening, winning the top accolade for the best production of the 2018/19 season with Great Expectations. Along the way that production also picked up the wards for Best Sound and Best Creative Set Design.

It was a good year for Charles Dickens! Ilminster Entertainment Society’s David Copperfield picked up awards for Best Costumes, Best Youth Under 16 ((Demetrius Driver as Young David), Best Female Cameo (Belinda Morgan as Jane Murdstone), and Best Featured Actress (Maddie Lowe as Mrs Heep).

The Gordon Neagle Cup for the best non-theatre production went to @2k for The Vicar of Dibley at Christmas, which toured some of the smaller halls in the villages near Taunton (Crowcombe, Otterford, and Othery) before ending its run at the Tacchi Morris Centre. Robert Graydon of Swan Theatre Company picked up the coveted accolade for Best Director for Veronica’s Room. In fact, Swan Theatre picked up a creditable six awards spread over two productions, a noteworthy feat.

The evening started off with a welcome by SFD Chairman Sam Allen, followed by a carvery meal. It was a great chance for theatre folk, who had dressed to the nines for this glittering evening, to catch up and reminisce on old times and past triumphs! Photographs from the various shows were on display and proved to be a wonderful talking point.

Moderator Lyn Lockyer hosted the evening

After the meal, the award ceremony began, with competition moderator Lyn Lockyer in charge of proceedings. Lyn said, “I have been thrilled to be able to be the moderator for the Phoebe Rees Awards this year. I wouldn’t have got through any of it without the support, help and advice of the team of other wonderful adjudicators: Philip de Glanville, Robert Graydon, Liz Hollis, June Jenkins, Phil Wells and of course my husband who has often listened but never dared pass comment… your support has been so appreciated, thank you.”

She went on to tell the assembled company that there had been 33 entries in the year with 159 nominations. She said, “The standard you have all achieved has been exceptionally high. Your productions have made me cry, frightened me, amazed me, and made me laugh out loud.”

She went on to say, “As both a director and actor I know how much hard work and effort from the whole team goes in to present a play worthy of a paying audience and I also know and value the many benefits and friendships that come from being part of such a creative atmosphere and group of people.”

Sam Allen presented the awards and Roger Price was on hand to take photographs.

The winners list: Phoebe Rees Competition 2018/19

Best Effects: Swan Theatre Co – And Then There Were None

Best Sound: Barnstormers – Great Expectations

Best Lighting: Swan Theatre Co – Veronica’s Room

Best Props: Street Theatre – Steel Magnolias

Best Costumes: IES – David Copperfield

Best Set Construction: Bradford Players – Black Coffee

Best Creative Set Design: Barnstormers – Great Expectations

Best Stage Management: Trull Players – Death’s Desire

Artistic Impression: Swan Theatre Co – The Tempest

Best Youth U16: IES – David Copperfield (Demetrius Driver as Young David)

Best U21 Female: Frome Drama Club – Pygmalion (Anabella Fairgrieve as Eliza)

Best U21 Male: Swan Theatre Co – The Tempest (Ethan Taylor as Ariel)

Best Female Cameo: IES – David Copperfield (Belinda Morgan as Jane Murdstone)

Best Male Cameo: Failand Drama Circle – A Bunch of Amateurs (Jamie Shepherd as Jester)

Best Featured Actress: IES – David Copperfield (Maddie Lowe as Mrs Heep)

Best Featured Actor: Frome Drama Club – Pygmalion (Laurie Parnell as Alfred Doolittle)

Best Supporting Actress: Swan Theatre Co – The Tempest (Rachel Alexander as Caliban)

Best Supporting Actor: Merlin Theatre Productions – Journey’s End (Richard Pugh as 2Lt Trotter)

Best Actress: West Huntspill – A Bunch of Amateurs (Clare Virgo as Dorothy)

Best Actor: Civic Players – Caught in the Net (Andrew Meadows as Stanley)

The Marie Gannicott (Champagne Moment): D&M Productions – the opening sequence of Ravenscroft

The George Crocker Challenge Trophy: Queen’s College Drama – For Queen’s & Country

Best Direction: Swan Theatre Co – Veronica’s Room (Robert Graydon)

Gordon Neagle Cup (Best Non-Theatre-based Production): @2K – The Vicar of Dibley at Christmas

Best Production: Barnstormers – Great Expectations