Students take the honours at drama festival
THE winners of the 2007 Elmbridge Drama Festival have taken centre stage, marking another year of outstanding performances.
Held at the Walton Playhouse every March, the festival forms part of the first round of the All England Theatre Festival and brings together drama groups from across the borough, each competing for the coveted trophies.
Brooklands Theatre Company swept the board at this year’s festival, gaining five awards and nine nominations.
The company, made up of Brooklands College’s finest young performers, took home trophies for Best Youth Play, Best Youth Player, Best Original Script, Best Technical Production and the Best Festival Spirit award for its play The Opposite of People by Andrew Smith.
The company’s production was specially commissioned for the college-based ensemble and focused on themes of ambition, deception, greed and corruption.
Set in a world of bogus theatrical agents, the play follows central character Mark, who works for a company that cons young hopefuls out of money by signing them to his agency’s books.
Down on his sales figures and with a sick mother to care for, Mark is given the ultimate challenge — to keep his job he must recruit a new client and charge them a £1,000 joining fee.
Iain Patterson, founder of the Brooklands Theatre Company and director of The Opposite of People, said: “We were truly overwhelmed with the response to our current production and delighted with our success at the Elmbridge Drama Festival.
“It has been fantastic to see the students’ hard work and talent rewarded in such a competitive arena and I am extremely proud of their achievement.
“I would highly recommend other youth groups to enter the Elmbridge Drama Festival as it offers young actors a wonderful opportunity to perform in a structured, well-run, disciplined and creative environment.”
The Brooklands Theatre Company will tour secondary schools with The Opposite of People before entering the Woking and Spelthorne Drama Festivals in the autumn.
Other winners on the night included the Runnymede Drama Group and Lighted Fools Theatre Company, who will now go forward to compete in the next stage of the All England Theatre Festival in May.
The Runnymede Drama Group was awarded the Best Play trophy for its production of Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernada Alba. The group also took home the trophy for Best All Women’s Play, the Best Director Trophy (Judith Dolley) and the award for Best Supporting Player (Lisette Henry).
Lighted Fools Theatre Com-pany performed Caryl Churchill’s A Number, with David Webb winning the Best Actor trophy.
Other awards of the evening went to Mary Taylor as Best Actress in the Cobham Players’ Visiting Hour and Joshua Cohen as Best Supporting Youth Actor in Shut Up by the Croft Drama Group.
The Adjudicator’s Trophy was presented to the cast of the Old Hamptonians Amateur Dramatic Society for its production of Two.
The second round of the All England Theatre Festival takes place at the Walton Playhouse on May 13. Tickets are available from the box office on 01932 228525.