What a coup! Dales playwright set for New York

Writer/director Keith Burton with the cups he won for his pay The Journey at the 2013 Nidderdale One-Act Play Festival.

Writer/director Keith Burton with the cups he won for his pay The Journey at the 2013 Nidderdale One-Act Play Festival.

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The underdog can win! A Dales playwright from a small group in Nidderdale has pulled off a major coup in the world of theatre.

Keith Burton and Pateley Bridge Dramatic Society has defeated hundreds of rivals round the world to be invited to New York to stage one of its own productions.

This dedicated troupe of amateurs are to stage their The Journey at an Off-Broadway theatre in New York as part of The Annual Samuel French Off Broadway Short Play Festival.

The Journey, which was written originally for Pateley Playhouse by local award-winning writer Keith Burton, is the only play from the UK to have been selected out of almost 1,500 entries worldwide.

The selected 30 plays are performed over a week, then whittled down to ten, then to a final three, then to the final winner.

It is worth noting that Samuel French is the preeminent publisher of plays in the UK, US and world-wide.

Pateley Playhouse publicity officer and fellow playwright and Nevin Ward said: “It is a huge compliment to Keith’s writing, and to the endeavour and ambition of Pateley Playhouse itself, which is our small ‘Theatre in the Dales’.”

The Journey found success early in its life when it was Pateley’s entry in 2013 in the Nidderdale Festival, where it won several awards.

Keith's play is set on a bus as the lives and relationship of two characters, Lad and gran, unfold, in moving and unpredictable ways on the road together.

Once the Pateley players received the stunning news from New York, the easiest thing would have been for American actors in ‘The Big Apple’ to have taken up the leading roles.

Not likely!

Nevin said: “We had the option to have Keith’s script performed by a New York company, most likely a student group, but we opted to send writer/director Keith, actors Ruth Dodsworth and Ben Derrick, and sound technician Sue Hickson to New York. As the play has a strong ‘Yorkshire’ feel, we didn’t think that a US group, however talented, would quite be able do it justice.”

If their entry in this international event is to be a success when it is unveiled to American audiences at the Classic Stage Company theatre, off Broadway, on the evening of Friday, August 12, these talented amateurs will have to get their fundraising socks on.

The costs will be formidable, which is why Pateley Playhouse is planning two special fundraising performances of The Journey at The Playhouse in August.