We were delighted to once again host our Drama Festival this year with performances by six local societies. Linda Stabler, our convenor, and her team have worked tirelessly since November 2004 to organize the event which culminated in the grand Awards Ceremony on Saturday 2nd July.
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The evening began with a short melodrama entitled The Gambler’s Dilemma (or Her Honour for a Shilling!), directed by Linda Stabler, which was greeted enthusiastically by the audience who happily booed the villainous Sir Jasper and cheered the dashing young hero. Then came the focus for the evening – the awards ceremony. Our adjudicator - actor, writer and director Richard Franklin - is perhaps best known for his long running role as Captain Mike Yates in the cult series Dr Who (featuring Jon Pertwee). He had impressed the audiences on the previous three nights with his in-depth assessment of the plays, offering extremely useful advice which was well received by all the performers and directors. After a short summary of all the plays, which he said he had thoroughly enjoyed in many different ways, he announced the winners of the trophies.
Our own entry What Brutes Men Are, a comedy written by Constance Cox and directed by Brian Norton, was performed on the previous Friday and featured Rona Williamson, Jan Zingel, Amber Williamson and Janet Methley.
The Frank Warriner Award for Best Actress went to Lynne Gardner of Bury Amateur Dramatic Society and the Bob Thornton Award for Best Actor went to Ian Churchill of Southwick Players. Runner Up awards went to Hilary Whitehead of Ashington Players and Ron Common of Storrington Dramatic Society. We were delighted that the award for Best Support went to our own Jan Zingel who played waitress Mildred in What Brutes Men Are. The WCDS Special Merit Award went to Rustington Players for their very polished performance of the first act of Private Lives - and finally the WCDS Award for Best Production went to Bury Amateur Dramatic Society for the very moving drama Late Frost. Richard also awarded certificates in categories which he felt deserved recognition. Best Cameo went to ‘H’ Reeves of Southwick Players, and Pennie Billinghurst of Rustington Players received an certificate for Best Appreciation of Style. The Most Versatile Performance was from Louise Yeo of Southwick Players and Best Use of Voice went to Richard Mitchell of Storrington Dramatic Society. Achievement in a Difficult Role went to Tom Loftus of Southwick Players and finally, perhaps a little tongue in cheek, a certificate for Best Chorus was awarded to Storrington Dramatic Society! Richard commented on the very good natured rivalry between the societies who were all well represented at the ceremony. It was a pleasure to see the delight with which everyone greeted each award.
The evening was rounded off with a delicious cold supper prepared by Betsy Rimmer and her team of helpers. Everyone agreed that once again the Festival had been a great success – thanks to all those involved, backstage, on stage and front of house. It was a glorious team effort!