THE 43rd Henley Drama Festival gets underway on Tuesday, writes Lesley Potter.
The festival, an annual fixture at the Kenton Theatre, attracts amateur groups from all over Oxfordshire and gives actors the chance to compete against one another in order to win a string of awards.
According to the rules, each participating group must put on a one-act play involving at least two actors. Each show is watched by a professional adjudicator who hands out prizes on the final night, Saturday, May 10.
This year the adjudicator is Colin Dolley, a chairman of NODA adjudicators.
Three local am dram groups will be presenting plays this year.
StageWorks, the Henley-based company for young thespians, will be playing A Dollar by David Pinski on Thursday, May 8.
On Friday, May 9 a team from Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society will perform The Cask of Amontillado, an adaptation of a short story by Edgar Allen Poe. And on the same night Henley Players will be performing a play written by one of its members, The Last Two Lines by Ronnie Gunn.
Jill Richardson directs the cast — Wendy Huntley, Michael Mungarvan, Tim Green, Harry Petrie, Pam Pitts, Liz Mcewen and Geoff Atkinson — in a comedy she describes as “a charming little play”.
Visiting groups this year include the Friendly Bombs from Slough and the Oxford Theatre Guild.
The festival is directed by Ann Dayton, whose mother initiated the festival 43 years ago.
Jeni Wood, who helps to organise the festival, said: “At least 12 awards will be presented on Saturday, May 10 including an award for best original play, best actor and best production. As you can imagine every group works extremely hard to win as many awards as possible, which definitely keeps up the standard of entertainment.”
Tickets for the festival are available from the Kenton Theatre on (01491) 575698 or visit www.kentontheatre.co.uk