Harrogate Theatre hosts final of community drama competiton

They will present Education, Education, Education
They will present Education, Education, Education

The main stage of Harrogate Theatre will host one of the great events of the annual British community drama calendar, the British Final of One-Act Plays next month.

The event is the climax of the national drama festival seasons of the All England Theatre Festival, the Drama Association of Wales, the Scottish Community Drama Association and the Association of Ulster Drama Festivals whose champions compete, over two nights, for the Howard de Walden Trophy, named after the first president of the British Drama League.

This is the first time that the event has been held at Harrogate Theatre and it runs from Friday July 5 to Saturday July 6.

It has involved more than a year of planning by local enthusiasts, particularly Ian Clark, chairman of both the Nidderdale and District Drama Association and the All England Theatre Festival.

Since the Final is most unlikely to return to the North of England for another generation this really is a one-off opportunity for the Harrogate and Nidderdale public to take in the 'best of British' as far as the amateur stage is concerned.

English champions - youngsters of Woking College Theatre Company – will present Education, Education, Education by the Wardrobe Company on the Friday.

On the same bill will be the Welsh champions, the Unknown Theatre Company, based in Cardiff, who will perform Constellations by Nick Payne.

On the Saturday, the performers will be Northern Ireland champions Theatre 3 Newtownabbey, who will present A Bench at the Edge by Luigi Jannuzzi.

The British Final will end with a performance by Scottish champions, Stromness Drama Club which who will have a 500-mile journey to negotiate from Orkney - of John Godber’s Hull-based drama Shakers.

The British Final also celebrates the year's best original festival writing for the stage. The Geoffrey Whitworth Trophy will be presented at the end of the show on Saturday to Pateley Bridge playwright Keith Burton for his latest work A Penny for Them.

The play won, in performance by Pateley Bridge Dramatic Society, this year's Nidderdale and District Drama Festival and, as a British Final fringe event. The society will be staging a public reading of Keith's new work at 2.30pm at the Frazer Theatre, Knaresborough. Free entry.

The opening ceremony of the British Final will be graced by a performance from Harrogate Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Tickets from the Harrogate Theatre box office: 01423 502116.