The 42nd Henley Drama Festival kicked off last night and will run for six nights instead of the usual five starting at the Kenton Theatre as the organisers have had so many applicants that they had to add an extra day.
There will 16 theatrical groups battling out for the coveted top prizes as they perform their one-act plays before an adjudicator from the Guild of Drama. The rules of the festival are that the plays must be between 20 and 50 minutes long and each night the adjudicator gives feedback to the cast. On the final night prizes will be awarded and trophies awarded in a number of classes including best overall play, best actor and best actress. The adjudicator also issues his or her own award, the Diamond Shield, for what he or she considers the magic moment of the week.
Pauline Smith, festival secretary, said: “Last year the adjudicator said that in many ways we are bucking the trend. Many of these festivals have folded, especially in the south-east, but while we usually do five days, this year we are doing six.
“The point of the festival is to get across to people how wonderful a live play is. Nowadays the attention span is so short it’s lovely to be able to go somewhere and really concentrate on a play, and come away feeling you have been entertained.”
Regular local Henley groups taking part include the Henley Players, who will perform an Alan Bennett play Say Something Happened and HAODS with Seth Kramer’s World Without Memory.
Monday 6th May
The Marist Senior School – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Class II & III)
North Oxford Youth Theatre – Can You Hear Me (Class III & V)
Tuesday 7th May
Sinodun Players – The Fat Lady Sings in Little Grimley (Class I)
Forum Players – Future Forum – Animal Plan-It (Class I & V)
Forum Players – Toxic Ocean (Class I & V)
Wednesday 8th May
HAODS – World Without Memory (Class I)
St Peter’s Players Wolvercote (Team 1) – The Roecognition Scene from Anastasia (Class I)
St Peter’s Players Wolvercote (Team 2) – TheProposal (Class I)
Thursday 9th May
Oxford Theatre Guild (Team I) – Trifles (Class I)
Aldermaston Players – Charity Begins (Class I & II)
Oxford Theatre Guild – Moving Scenes (Class V)
Friday 10th May
Henley Players – Say Something Happened (Class I)
Didcot Phoenix Drama Group – A Little Box of Oblivion (Class I)
Saturday 11th May
Hurstpierpoint Players – Dear Diva (Class I)
The Young Theatre – No Picnic (Class III)
All Tickets £8. Box office (01491) 575698 or visit www.kentontheatre.co.uk