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October 14 2017, News The Phoebe Rees Competition
By Sam Allen

The trophies were gleaming and the stage was set as actors, directors, set designers, technical directors and the whole gamut of amateur dramatists gathered on Friday evening at the Shrubbery Hotel in Ilminster for the Annual Phoebe Rees Awards evening. It was a sparkling affair as guests donned their best bib and tucker, jewellery sparkled, and the light glinted off the trophies arrayed on the stage. There was an a air of anticipation as people caught up with old friends, had a drink in the bar and sat down to a delightful meal before getting down to the main event of the evening: the awards ceremony.

Competition coordinator Philip de Glanville welcomed drama societies from across Somerset – all but three societies that had entered were represented on the evening. Competition moderator Clive Wooldridge presided over the evening and started off by saying, “I have been really impressed in my time as moderator how standards have got better and better.” He went on to say, “To be nominated, you have to have impressed both the moderator and the adjudicator. In my opinion, everyone who has been nominated is already a winner.” Perhaps this was reflected in the number of nominations as up to ten societies were nominated in some categories.

Competion Moderator Clive Wooldridge (standing) is flanked by four of the adjudicators (from left: Phil Wells, Philip de Glanville, Polly English and Lynne Wooldridge

Four of the adjudicators were on hand to present the trophies: Philip de Glanville, Phil Wells, Polly English and Lynne Wooldridge, who is retiring from the panel. The fifth adjudicator, Lynn Lockyer, is on holiday.

As has become traditional, the technical awards were presented first and it was notable that the awards were distributed over a range of societies with no particular society dominating, a reflection of  high quality right across the county. Then came the awards for those who tread the boards and, again, it was notable that the award winners came from a wide range of societies.

The Champagne moment is a ‘wow’ moment that takes the breath away and stays in the memory. Clive Wooldridge was effusive about this year’s winner: The Hens’ in Telling Canterbury Tales performed by Taunton Thespians.

Jo Neagle presented the prestigious Gordon Neagle Memorial Cup for Best Production in a non-theatre venue. This year’s worthy winners were Wellington Theatre Company for their production of Steel Magnolias.

SFD Chairman Sam Allen presented the awards for Best Direction and Best Production. The Best Direction Award went to Wellington for Steel Magnolias and their director Rachel Buttell.

Overall Best Production went to Swan Theatre Company for The Reluctant Debutante. As Moderator Clive Wooldrige pointed out, although they had not actually won in any other category, this show came up time and time again in the list of nominations, reflecting the overall strength of their production. A very worthy winner indeed.

Andy Wood accepts the award for Best Production from Sam Allen

Rachel Buttell picks up the Award for Best Director from SFD Chairman Sam Allen

The full list of winners is given below and you can find all the nominations here.

The Phoebe Rees Awards 2016/17 Award Winners

Best Production:     Swan Theatre Co       The Reluctant Debutante

Best Direction:         Rachel Buttell                        Wellington Theatre Co         Steel Magnolias

The Gordon Neagle Memorial Cup (Best Production in a non-theatre venue):

Wellington Theatre Co         Steel Magnolias

The Marie Gannicott Memorial Trophy (Champagne moment):

The Hens’ in Telling Canterbury Tales – Taunton Thespians

The George Crocker Challenge Trophy: West Huntspill Players         The Titfield Thunderbolt

Best Male Actor: Alan Burgess as Prospero         The Tempest   Frome Drama Club

Best Female Actor: Charlie Wood as Beatrice     Much Ado About Nothing       Street Theatre

Best Supporting Male Actor: Andrew Meadows as Richard      Key For Two   Civic Players

Best Supporting Female Actor: Rosie Taylor as Alice Tinker    The Vicar of Dibley     @2K

Best Cameo (Male): Paul Townsend as Verges    Much Ado About Nothing       Street Theatre

Best Cameo (Female): Elaine Taylor as Louise    Private Lives   Swan Theatre Co

Best Youth U21 (Male): Django Lewis-Clark as Charles Murdoch         The Ghost Train          Frome Drama Club

Best Youth U21 (Female): Anna Griffiths as Fanny Robin         Far From The Madding Crowd Ilminster Entertainments Soc

Best Youth U16: Zuleika Driver as Lucy    Prince Caspian            Ilminster Youth Theatre & IES

Best Artistic Impression: Ilminster Entertainments Soc          Far From The Madding Crowd

Best Creative Set Design: Street Theatre             Dancing At Lughnasa

Best Set Construction: Ilminster Entertainments Soc    Snake In The Grass

Best Creative Lighting: Swan Theatre Co             A Passionate Woman

Best Costumes: Frome Drama Club          The Ghost Train

Best Stage Management: Swan Theatre    4000 Miles

Best Props: Wellington Theatre Co           Steel Magnolias

Best Sound: St Gregory Players      Wyrd Sisters

Best Effects: Ilminster Youth Theatre & IES         Prince Caspian