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March 12 2018, County Drama Festival News
by Philip de Glanville

The Sunday after next (25th March) sees three Somerset teams competing for the honour of representing the county in the Quarter-final of the All-England One-Act play festival.

The County Drama Festival, which is being held again this year at The Warehouse Theatre in Ilminster, normally takes place over two or three sessions but sadly several groups have had to drop out for various reasons, so we shall have just one session – at 6pm, in which Taunton Thespians, Make Performing Arts and IES battle for the County Shield. The decision will be made by Alan Hayes, a GoDA adjudicator from Tewkesbury, who will deliver his assessments publically at the end of the session, before announcing the winners of the various bits of silverware, and the overall winner.

Taunton Thespians will be first up, with a short Victorian melodrama called The Tram-Track Tragedy, written very tongue in cheek by Peter and Patricia Ariss and directed by Jane Busby. With Dona Bullion as poor naïve Nellie, and Ben Williamson as Sir Putrid Canker her loathsome seducer, plus a full supporting cast, expect great fun, wonderfully OTT acting and every delicious cliché in the genre.

Next are Make Performing Arts – a group of 14-16 year olds with a piece they have devised themselves, with the help of their director Sophy Layzell. They have called it Country Side Pursuits, and have combined music and drama to tell the story of a social gathering at a country house, set against the backdrop of the Suffragette movement. The play satirizes male sexism and has topical ‘me-too’ themes, which makes it particularly interesting and relevant.

Lastly, IES are entering Melody, by Dierdre Kinahan. This very charming two-hander, performed by Mick & Irene Glynn and directed by Celia Crookes, concerns William and Kathleen who have taken to meeting near the bandstand in the park to eat their lunch together. A common interest in music forms the foundation of a friendship which quickly becomes a romantic attachment, but their relationship is threatened by the things they haven’t yet told each other.

It promises to be a delightful evening of theatre, so do come and support the three teams. The fascinating thing about public adjudication of competitive drama is that you can pit your wits against the adjudicator, and see if you can spot our winner yourself. 6pm on Sunday 25th March. Tickets available through www.thewarehousetheatre.org.uk or on the door. See you there!