41st Drama Festival

Sedgefield Drama Festival returned in fine style in September, with outstanding results for Sedgefield Players. Best Production, the Players’ imaginative reworking of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The Jewish Wife’, also won awards for costume and technical achievement. The cast won the Ensemble Award and Tom Guest was awarded Best Director for this production. Tom also won Best Actor for his sensitive portrayal of social worker Leslie in Sedgefield’s ‘A Touch of Rose Madder’, which also won the Audience Award and the Mayor’s Runner-up Award.

Tom also directed a fine ensemble in Sedgefield Players Youth Section, whose production ‘Remote’ won the award for Best Set, using simple staging and a variety of levels to great effect. Cameron Andrews, as the observant outsider, was awarded best Male Performer under 21. Unison Theatre’s Beth Crane won Best Female under 21 for her moving portrayal of a young woman whose life is blighted by the cruel mocking of her peers. The company, students from Newcastle College for Performing Arts, also won the Peter Young Quaich for Youth and the Best 30 Seconds Award. Their tutor and director for this production, Tom Guest won the Adjudicator’s Award for all his work on behalf of Sedgefield Festival.

Helena Langero won Best Actress and Doug Clayton Best Supporting Actor as the daughter and father in Chekhov’s ‘The Proposal’, performed with great gusto by Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society. Best Supporting Actress Shannon Waters gave a wonderful portrayal of the painfully shy Fay in Nunthorpe Players’ hilarious production of ‘Acting, it’s not Plumbing’. Another young actress, Lucy McCabe of Matchbox Theatre Company, won the Cameo Award for Janet, the mouthy young mum in ‘Muse’, part of a trilogy of short plays by local writer Tom Casling.

The Award for Endeavour, given in memory of Ray Tate, a long-standing member of Sedgefield Players with his wife Dorothy, went to Shoestring Theatre Company, on their first ever foray into festivals with ‘The Ladybirds’. Cliffe Theatre’s chilling presentation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ won the Ruby Award for Originality, first awarded in 2015, in celebration of 40 years of Sedgefield Drama Festival.

Organiser Norma Neal said, ‘After 40 successful years, we were unable to run a festival in 2016. Having skipped a year, we are delighted to have returned in such strength. Our adjudicator Paul Fowler, on his first visit to Sedgefield, was very impressed by the efficiency and friendliness of the festival, which has a great reputation nationwide. Good to be back!’

The plays

Sedgefield Players Youth Section – SPYS – Remote by Stef Smith
Unison Theatre Group – The Last Act by Thomas Guest
Matchbox Theatre – A trilogy of shorty plays by Tom Casling
Ten Minutes to Reach Inside, The Muse and Mankind
Shoestring Theatre Company – The Ladybirds by Tony Layton
Statement Drama Company – Verbatim by Albi Gorn
Sedgefield Players – A Touch of Rose Madder by Jim O’Connor
Sedgefield Players – The Jewish Wife by Bertolt Brecht
Nunthorpe Players – Acting, it’s not plumbing… by Cheryl Barrett
Cliffe Theatre – The Tell-Tale heart by Edgar Allan Poe
Bananadrama – Soul Mates by Shari Gledhill
Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society – The Proposal by Anton Chekhov
40th Drama Festival

Sedgefield Players swept the board at their 40th Drama Festival in September, winning 13 of the 20 trophies. Best Production, ‘ The Night Before Christmas’, a hilarious comedy by Anthony Neilson, also won the Audience Award, the Ensemble Award and Best 30 Seconds. Tom Guest was awarded Best Director for this production. He also directed the Players in ‘Albertine in Five Times’, which won the Adjudicator’s Award and Jayne’s Award for Costume. Liz Flanagan was declared Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Albertine aged 40. Millie Harris was awarded the Peter Young Quaich for Youth for her portrayal of Albertine’s sister, Madeleine.

Norma Neal won Best Actress as Marjorie in ‘The Ghost You Can See’ by Scarborough writer Sue Wilding. The production also won Most Effective Set. Sedgefield Players Youth Section, known as SPYS, won the Endeavour Award for ‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly’, a moving evocation of life for children in the Jewish ghetto of Terezin during World War II. Lucy Atkinson as Raja was the first recipient this year of a Simon Whiteley Memorial Award for performers under the age of 21.

The second went to 12 year old Hugh Stanway in Cresta Amateur Dramatic Society’s ‘9.15’. Written and directed by Sue Wilding, the Scarborough group’s production was also awarded Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for David Irwin as Neville and Tim Tubbs, his prison psychologist. The team received the Mayor’s Award for Runner Up to Best Production, portraying a group of office workers caught up in an incident which affected all their lives.

Bananadrama, another Scarborough team, won the Technical Award for ‘A Bicycle Made For Two’, written and directed by group member Shari Gledhill. In another original piece, ‘Echoes’ by George Collings of Nunthorpe Players, Norma Timney won the Cameo Award for a brief but telling portrayal of the mother. The Festival enjoyed a total of six pieces of new writing, recognised by the Ruby Award for Originality, specially selected to celebrate 40 years of Sedgefield Drama Festival. First winner, Sue Wilding of Cresta ADS, also a very talented actress and director, was delighted to receive the award.

Adjudicator Ian Sarginson, on his second visit to Sedgefield, was impressed by the wealth of original material, the high standard of productions, the efficiency of organisation and technical support plus the friendly, festive atmosphere evident throughout the week.


The Night Before Christmas-Best Production, Audience Award, Ensemble Award, Best 30 Seconds, Best Director (Thomas Guest)

Albertine in Five Times-Adjudicator’s Award, Costume Award, Best Supporting Actress (Liz Flanagan), Youth Award (Millie Harris)

The Ghost You Can See-Best Set, Best Actress (Norma Neal)

SPYS–'I Never Saw Another Butterfly'–Endeavour Award, Best performer under 21 (Lucy Atkinson)

Cresta Amateur Dramatic Society ‘9.15’-Runner-up Award, Best performer under 21 (Hugh Stanway), Best Actor (David Irwin), Best Supporting Actor (Tim Tubbs), Ruby Award for Originality Sue Wilding

Bananadrama-A Bicycle Made for Two'-Technical Award

Nunthorpe Players 'Echoes'-Cameo Award (Norma Timney)

39th Drama Festival

39th Sedgefield Drama Festival of One Act Plays At another highly successful Festival, Sedgefield Players ‘Primrose Way’ won Best Production, Best Director (Thomas Guest) and Best Actress (Viv Jacobs). The play, ‘Philip and Rowena’, also by Sedgefield Players, won the award for Technical Presentation, while our youth section SPYS won the Ensemble Award for ‘The Princess and the Wolf’, written and directed by Tom Guest.

Individual youth awards went to 17 year olds Noah Harrison and Natasha Graham of Saltburn ’53 for outstanding performances in ‘The Edge’. Their production also won the Audience Award, the Peter Young Quaich for Youth and the Best 30 Seconds for a jaw-dropping fall from the roof.

Scarborough group Bananadrama were runners up with their hard-hitting play set in a prison. The two protagonists Chris Parrinder and John Dennis won the Adjudicator’s Award for their contrasted performances. Nunthorpe Players, returning to Sedgefield Festival after many years, won Best Set for their World War I play, ‘Incorporeal Corporal’. Sarah Robinson won the Cameo Award for her gently touching performance as the wife.

Leyburn ADS won awards in each of their productions. The 1920s outfits in ‘A Jolly Sinister Jape’ won Jayne’s Award for Costume, while Michael Waldman won Best Supporting Actor as John Shakespeare, father of the bard, in ‘Gentlemen and Players’. Best Supporting Actress Annette Morris of Matchbox Theatre played two roles in ‘Sanctuary’, one at a week’s notice. Best Actor David Irwin of Scarborough’s Cresta ADS, played multiple roles in WLTM, a salutary, but very entertaining piece about blind dating, written and directed by Sue Wilding, who won the Endeavour Award for her original writing. Six of the twelve plays presented this year were written by members of the groups.

Adjudicator Colin Dolley was impressed by the wealth of original material, the scope and variety of the plays, the high standard of performance and the friendly, supportive spirit of the festival. Sedgefield Drama Festival is highly respected nationally, always held during the second week in September . We already have some good ideas for next year - our 40th! Don’t miss the chance to see some really great theatre - right here on your doorstep.