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English Final 2018


Dear Festival Supporter in the North.

  

This year's British Final was held on 6/7 July at the MacRobert Theatre on the highly attractive (but sweltering) campus of Stirling University. It was hosted impressively by the Scottish Community Drama Association and adjudicated with skill and acuity by Jennifer Scott Reid.


The four finalists were:


ABERDOUR PLAYERS (Fife) with 'RED CROSS' by Sam Shepard

TOTAL ARTS COMMUNITY THEATRE (Tamworth) with 'THE THRILL OF LOVE' by Amanda Whittington

PLAYERS' THEATRE (South Wales) with 'THE BRIDGE' by Gabe Torrens

ROSEMARY DRAMA GROUP (Belfast) with 'MEDIOCRITY' by Anton Krueger


The standard, as one would expect from four national champions, was extremely high and this event is always more about celebration than winning the HOWARD DE WALDEN TROPHY. However, the smart money seemed to be on the atmospheric Welsh play, TACT's rendition of the Ruth Ellis story or the irrepressibly funny and inventive Irish production. In the event the trophy went to Wales. In THE BRIDGE a potential suicide is found perched on a bridge above a ravine and talked down by an enigmatic stranger who we learn is a former (but long since alienated) best friend. The scenario had all the potential for cliché but transcended it by unexpected revelations and psychological twists.


The British Final is always the occasion at which the GEOFREY WHITWORTH TROPHY is awarded to the author of the year's best original play receiving it's festival debut. Here AETF North had much to shout about. The runner-up was Keith Burton's lively and imaginative 'ON FALSE PREMISES', this year's Nidderdale winner and Area semi final runner-up at Saltburn. The winner, for a second year running, was Sue Pierce with her moving, multi-cast 'A TIDING OF MAGPIES', this year's Saltburn and Northern semi final winner. Sue was on hand to receive her trophy, along with sister Julie (a cast member). A TIDING OF MAGPIES has now been published by Cressrelles, who have committed themselves to publishing the Geoffrey Whitworth winning play (we don't yet now for how long).


The SCDA pushed the 'hosting' bar very high for next year's event, which, many of you know, will be held at HARROGATE THEATRE on 5/6 July. As the AETF Chair and co-ordinator of the event  I shall be very dependent on help with publicity, manpower (team stewards, stage management, raffle ticket sellers etc) and a grateful recipient of donations (including sponsorship) to help the finalists re-coup their expenses. My thanks already to Woodlands Drama Group for their kind donation and to Knaresborough Players for agreeing to perform a scripted reading of the 2019 Geoffrey Whitworth winner at the Frazer Theatre on the Saturday afternoon.


If you can help in any of the above ways, please let me know.



Kind regards, IAN CLARKE (AETF)