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November 25 2017, County Drama Festival News

The cast of Troupers’ winning play: A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Act 1

by Philip de Glanville

Autumn productions are mainly all wrapped up, Panto season is almost upon us, and many will be thinking about rehearsals for next Spring. It’s comforting to think that it is only four months away!

What to do in the meantime… Well, how about putting together an evening of One Act plays? Always popular with audiences, nothing like as much investment of money and time as a full-length play, a way of casting club members who missed out being in the Spring production, and a great opportunity to give a new director the chance to dip a toe in the water.

And if you are going to put together two or three short plays, why not see how the best of them measures up against what other Societies are doing? If you enter the County Drama Festival, which is free, you can get your work judged by an experienced professional from GODA, and that can be an extremely valuable experience.

Yes, we are limbering up for Somerset’s County Drama Festival, which will take place over the weekend 24th/25th March 2018 at The Warehouse Theatre in Ilminster. Alan Hayes, a well-established member of GODA, will be coming down from Tewkesbury to adjudicate. The winner will go into the next round of the All-England Theatre Festival and, potentially, all the way up represent England in the British Final, which will be in Scotland next year.

Original work is very welcome – in fact there is a specific award for the best production of an original play – and new plays have tended to do very well in the AETF in past years. Youth entries are also very much encouraged. The best of these will be invited to represent Somerset in a Five Counties Youth Festival in April.

There are well over 500 short plays in Samuel French’s on-line catalogue, and this is well-worth browsing through ( Please note however that in the County Drama Festival you must have at least two speaking parts and the play must run for at least 20 minutes, but no more than 55 minutes. If you are still stuck for material you can use part of a full-length play, as long as it can stand alone. The only time Somerset have gone through to, and won, the British Final was with Act 1 of Peter Nichol’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg in Londonderry in 2013 – see pic.

Any Society, or indeed any individual, who might be interested in putting something into next year’s County Drama Festival should let Philip de Glanville, County Drama Coordinator, know as soon as possible. He can be contacted on The deadline for entries is Monday 29th January but the number of sessions available are limited and may well fill up long before this. Places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.