Southeast Wales Community Theatre Companies Compete in Regional Round of National Play Festival

Four companies from Southeast Wales are to compete in A Night of Drama and Laughter, The Glamorgan Drama League One Act Play Festival on Saturday 25th March at The Savoy Theatre, Tonyrefail.

The night of drama and comedy will begin at 6pm and the £10 ticket covers all four plays which will be performed that evening, each company competing for a place in the Wales Final of The British One Act Play Festival in The Albert Hall, Llandrindod Wells in June. Adjudication in The Savoy Theatre will be provided by Tristan Marshall, GoDA Assoc.

“We are so excited about this one-night-only festival at The Savoy,” says Teri McCarthy, Chair of The Glamorgan Drama League which has been organising festivals of one act plays for around 60 years.

“Our members often go on to the Wales Final and sometimes on to the British Final which will be held in Belfast in July. It is a fabulous experience for all of the competing companies, and I know that every play will be of a really high standard.”

Participants of The Glamorgan Drama League one act play festival on 25th March at The Savoy, Tonyrefail include (clockwise from top left). The cast of A Super Happy Story (about feeling super sad). L-R: Michelle Kay, Miriam Edwards, Andrew Machin and Kim Littlechild of The Unknown Theatre Company, Paul Cotton-Gerrish and Matthew Hitchman of Newport Playgoers Society in rehearsal for Untucked (photo by Paul Johnson, Pixels in Time), Jo Bourton and Glenn Bowen of Players Anonymous in rehearsal for Blind Date and The Players’ Theatre cast of Hamlet – The Catalyst, Left to right: Phill Loveless as The Ghost. Gabe Torrens as Horatio. Craig Hill as Marcellus, Jonathan James as Hamlet & Steve Morris as Bernado.
The Unknown Theatre Company – A Super Happy Story

The first play of the evening will be performed by The Unknown Theatre Company which is based in Cardiff and was founded in 1997 as a young person’s theatre company. They have appeared on stage locally, nationally (Edinburgh Fringe) and internationally (Japan – World Festival Fusion Kawaguchi).

The company has gone all the way to the British final four times and won the British Final with Contractions by Mike Bartlett in 2016.

This year, they are presenting A Super Happy Story (about feeling super sad) by Oliver award winner Jon Brittain (Rotterdam & Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho) with music by Matthew Floyd Jones (Frisky and Mannish).

“Prepare for a hilarious play about depression that explains how it’s OK to not be OK,” says director Craig Legg. “Sally’s a happy person. She doesn’t let little things get her down and almost never cries. But she’s got an illness. It makes her feel like she isn’t the person she wants to be, but she doesn’t want anyone to know about it.

“We are really looking forward to presenting this joyful, brutal and honest show. We entered the festival in the past because of the wonderful Lon David whose passion for theatre and working with young people allowed so many actors and directors to go and make a career in the Arts.”

Newport Playgoers Society – Untucked

Newport Playgoers Society will present Untucked by Teresa Hennessy. Director Alison Gerrard explains the plot: “In Untucked, David or Miss Dee Light is a happily married man embarking on his first foray into a life-long dream of drag. He is not only about to step on stage for the first time in his new persona, but he’s also about to meet a life-long hero Irma Geddon, a seasoned veteran on the scene.

“The play is a comedy, set in the interval of a drag show, but there are also some moving discussions between the characters about life in the gay community of the 1980s.

“We are really looking forward to performing in the One Act Festival again this year in the lovely Savoy Theatre. Last year, Newport Playgoers entered two plays and received awards for innovative set design and best young performer. It was a wonderful experience, and we can’t wait to see all the other plays as well.”

The Players’ Theatre – Hamlet (The Catalyst)

Also competing at the Festival, The Players’ Theatre started life in the Rhondda Valley in the early 1970’s and then moved to Gelligaer, Rhymney Valley in 1980.

“In 1977 we first won the British One-Act Championship in the beautiful Eden Court Theatre in Inverness with Frank Vickery’s first play, the hysterically funny After I’m Gone,” says director Gareth Gibbs. “In 1978 we again reached the British Festival with Vickery’s second play See You Tomorrow and in 1982 we won the British again, this time with a play by 17th century French playwright, Moliere.

“In 1983 we were asked to represent the UK in a World Festival of Theatre in Calgary, Canada. In 1986 we again won The British with yet another comedy by Moliere, The Forced Marriage, again in Inverness.”

Players’ Theatre has represented the UK in World Festivals of Theatre in Monaco (twice) and in South Korea. They last won the British Festival in 2018 with a play written by Players’ member Gabe Torrens, a drama entitled The Bridge. Last year, they represented Wales at the British Final with David Campton’s fantasy Singing in the Wilderness.

“In complete contrast, this year we return to Shakespeare with the opening scenes from ‘Hamlet(The Catalyst’),” says Gareth. “This is an all-male cast, and we are really looking forward to performing again at The Savoy Theatre in Tonyrefail.”

Players Anonymous – Blind Date

Blind Date by Peter Quilter will be performed by Players Anonymous, a 60-year-old company based in Rhondda Cynon Taff. Director Jo Bourton will perform the role of Wendy.

“I chose this play as it is beautifully written, very funny and with moments of real pathos,” says Jo, whose father Gordon Thomas directed many productions for the company over previous decades.

“The characters in the play are very interesting, rounded and relatable. Glenn Bowen plays Jonathan, and we have a great rapport as we have worked together on many previous occasions, and we are both long-standing members of the company.

“We have entered the GDL One-Act Festival many times since 1967, making it to the Wales Finals at least 10 times and to the British Finals four times. It is exciting to be entering again this year.”

A Night of Drama and Laughter, Glamorgan Drama League Regional Round of The British One Act Play Festival will be held at The Savoy Theatre, Tonyrefail on Saturday 25th March at 6pm. Tickets available from Ticketsource:

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