Drama festival launches with appeal for new chairman

The annual Nidderdale and District One-Act Festival has been a fixture of the local drama scene since 1963.

Thursday, 20th February 2020, 10:33 am
Updated Thursday, 20th February 2020, 10:37 am
Last year's winners

This year’s event, the 57th in its history, will take place at the Frazer Theatre, Knaresborough, on Friday, March 20 at 7.30pm and Saturday, March 21 at 7pm.

Chris Baglin, who presided over last year’s event, is the adjudicator.

The Nidderdale event is affiliated to the All-England Theatre Festival and the winners will progress to the organisation’s northern semi-final at Saltburn Community Theatre on May 9 and 10.

Last year’s winner, Pateley Bridge Dramatic Society, is unable to take part because of pantomime commitments.

Its absence is made up for by the participation of two newcomers, 1812 Theatre Company from Helmsley and Talking Stock Productions from Halifax.

The repertoire is eclectic and will provide entertainment for all tastes.

On Friday, March 20, Knaresborough Players kick-start the festival with Mother Figure, one of a quintet of interconnected plays on the theme of obsession, isolation and the human need for companionship which make up Alan Ayckbourn’s early stage work Confusions.

It will be followed by two new and original works by local writers Take What You Want by Victoria Day – performed by Woodlands Drama Group – and Facing Facts by Alan Harwood – performed by Harrogate Dramatic Society.

The former is a macabre thriller in which an ex-con discovers that past events in his life cannot be forgotten or forgiven.

The latter is a comedy in which a soiree for four friends goes awry.

On Saturday, March 21, Talking Stock Productions start the entertainment with The Last Memory, a poignant, unpublished play by Alan Stockdill in which an Alzheimer sufferer decides that his daughter should be ‘the keeper of his memory’ and ‘the guardian of its past’.

The festival will end with a performance by 1812 Theatre Company of Purvis by Nick Warburton, a comedy in which the eponymous, accident-prone and widowed central character takes on a health and safety role at his local church.

This year’s Nidderdale Festival is the last to be planned and organised by Ian Clarke, long-serving chairman of the Nidderdale and District Drama Association who, with Elizabeth Clarke, NDDA secretary, is standing down after this year’s event. If no replacements are found, the 57th Nidderdale Festival may also be the last. If you have an interest in festival drama and feel you have the commitment to lead the Nidderdale into a brave new age, please email [email protected]

Tickets for this year’s Nidderdale Festival from the box office 01423 712240.