Deben Players stage theatre coup
IT was party time for members of a Woodbridge theatre group after they scooped four awards at this year's Felixstowe Drama Festival.The Deben Players were a cut above the rest – which included some of the top amateur actors and actresses from around the country – as they went home with a clutch of silverware.
By Richard Cornwell
IT was party time for members of a Woodbridge theatre group after they scooped four awards at this year's Felixstowe Drama Festival.
The Deben Players were a cut above the rest – which included some of the top amateur actors and actresses from around the country – as they went home with a clutch of silverware.
It was a case of saving the best to last as the group performed the final night's play of the week-long festival when they presented Ray Cooney's farce Out of Order, in which Felixstowe is actually mentioned by one of the characters.
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Deben Players were judged overall festival winners and also took the audience award, and the trophy for team acting. Peter Wells won best supporting actor.
Runners-up of both the festival, which was judged by adjudicator Tony Rushforth, and audience choice were Cardiff Players, who performed Laurie Lee's Cider With Rosie.
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Cardiff also took two more awards with Peter Griffiths as best director and Mike Barlow as best actor at the event, held at the Spa Pavilion.
The best set cup, and adjudicator's award to Adrian Brown, went to the Wortham and Redgrave Theatre Workshop, which presented Alan Ayckbourn's Taking Steps.
Debenham Players won the trophy for the best costumes for their performance of Emlyn Williams' intriguing play Cuckoo about a young woman who suffered long term effects of being dropped on her head as a baby.
Best actress was Sara Thompson, of Brentwood-based Kytes Theatre Group, which presented Rona Munro's Bold Girls, a stirring play about the lives of three Irish women whose husbands have been imprisoned for political activities.
Comedy was the main theme of the festival – the 52nd annual event – and it proved a winner with the audiences with an average of more than 300 attending on each of the seven nights.
"It was an excellent week and everyone really enjoyed it. The plays were performed to an exceptionally-high standard and everyone involved was delighted," said Barbara Minns, co-director of the festival with Ruth Miller.
"The mixture of local teams and those from around the country provided a good blend and the Suffolk teams did very well indeed."
This year there were only seven plays instead of eight, after it was decided not to have a play last Monday, when the 11-hour BBC Music Live event was taking place in the town.
Organisers would like to reinstate the Monday play next year but are to look at whether to abandon the Sunday night as this is always the lowest attended play.
The Deben Players now have the opportunity to go on next month to represent the East of England in the British All Winners Drama Festival.