Drama groups catch awards at seaside

Nidderdale Drama Festival overcame obstacles to stage the annual event 60 miles north at Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 2:14 pm
Howard Atkin (Woodlands Drama Group) being presented with the Best Actor Trophy.

The decision was taken by the organisers who were deprived of their usual Frazer Theatre venue and reprogrammed from the spring slot because of Covid restrictions.

It joined forces with the Saltburn Festival for two nights of drama at Saltburn Comunity Theatre.

Three plays were performed at the Nidderdale element of the event.

Alison Gilmour (Woodlands Drama Group) receiving the best producer award.

“Harrogate Dramatic Society kick-started a fascinating evening of eclectic drama with Alan Harwood’s modern comedy of manners ‘Facing Facts’, performed with dash and great comic timing,” said a spokesman.

“Woodlands Drama Group then performed Just Passing by Colin and Mary Crowther, an enigmatic and moving play excellently directed by Anne-Marie Ledson with two long and demanding roles subtly and convincingly portrayed by Julie James and Howard Atkin.”

The evening concluded with another Woodlands production, Inside Out – Love in a Covid Climate, a brand new work by Alison Gilmour.

Set on a park bench during the pandemic, the play explores relationship ruptures, new attachments and unusual friendships.

“Preparations for the festival demanded weeks of (sometimes wet and often cold) outdoor rehearsals in parks, gardens and private drives,” added the spokesman.

“Only recently had it proved possible to fine-tune each production indoors.

“The tenacity of both societies to overcome all obstacles and bring work back to a (socially distanced) public stage to such a high standard was hugely impressive.”

The festival adjudicator, Cherry Stephenson, pronounced Inside Out the festival winner.

It garnered seven of the ten trophies on offer, including the best actress award for Kay Manby.

Harrogate Dramatic Society won the runner-up trophy.

Just Passing won the adjudicator’s discretionary award and Howard Atkin won the best actor trophy for his performance in the same play.

Inside Out goes forward to contest the All-England Theatre Festival Northern Semi Final at Saltburn on July 10.