High praise for youths at Lorn Drama Festival

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Performing in Grave Prospects from left are Elise Glendinning, Martha Rennie, Eric Spence, Kim Lafferty.
Anuschka Miller, left, and Eilidh Orr in English for Pony Lovers.
Mike Rowell, Aimie Baker in Hot Desk.
Benderloch Juniors, from left, Finlay McLuckie, Ruby Heritage-Crabb, Darcey Miller and Callum Neil perform in Charlotte Holmes: Future Detective.
Hot Desk performers Mike Rowell and Aimie Baker with their trophy.
Wendy Dugdale and Jenn Brunner in (Don’t) Throw it Away.
Mo Inall, left, and Sophie Houston in Bad Reception.

Another highly successful Lorn Drama Festival was enjoyed by large audiences at the Corran Halls last week.

Adjudicator Alan Gray praised the extremely high standard of performance of all teams and said that he found choosing winners among such a diverse range of plays very difficult.

With a background in youth theatre, he was particularly taken by the enthusiasm of the two youth teams that took part and the obvious sense of fun that the young people took from being on stage.

In the youth section, Taynuilt and District Drama Society took the first prize with Bad Reception by Paul Vincent, and this comedy piece was also awarded the Moment in Comedy award for Finlay Brown’s comic performance.

Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club juniors were awarded second prize for Charlotte Holmes: Future Detective, which was a comedy spin on Sherlock Holmes, with Charlotte investigating a heist of a valuable oil painting aided by her robot companion, Watson.

The adult section of the festival included teams from Dunoon, Campbeltown, Taynuilt, Seil and Benderloch.

Seil Drama Club performed a new play, (Don’t) Throw it Away, written and directed by club members John Coulson and Caroline Morgan.

The piece explores the relationship between two sisters who are clearing out their mother’s attic and uncovering secrets and stories hidden for years.

The play won the Drama Festival Quill for new writing and Alan said it was only on his second reading of the play that he noticed this was an original script, such was the high quality of the writing.

Seil Drama Club also won the stage management award.

Similar themes were examined in Dunoon Players, A Respectable Funeral by Jimmie Chinn. A mother’s children gather in her house after her funeral and sibling rivalries and long-held secrets are revealed by a combination of grief, humour and whisky.

The play was awarded the JR Smith Trophy for best stage set, for its realistic depiction of the elderly mother’s cluttered living room.

The theme of death, although with a comic twist, was carried through into Grave Prospects, which was presented by Accent Players from Campbeltown.

Revenge was the subject of Taynuilt and District Drama Society’s production, When a Man Knows.

On a much lighter note, Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club presented two plays by John Finnemore, English for Pony Lovers and Hot Desk, as part of his Double Acts series of two-handed plays for Radio Four.

In his closing remarks, festival chairman Mike Rowell thanked all the teams for taking part, particularly Dunoon and Accent for making the trip to Oban and producing a very high-quality festival.

‘It is encouraging to see youth drama at the festival and it shows that community drama in Argyll has a bright future,’ he added.

Lorn Drama Festival Winners 2019

1st, Robin Banks Trophy; Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club (Hot Desk)

2nd, The Chalmers of Oban Quaich; Accent Players (Grave Prospects)

3rd, The Oban Times Salver; Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club (English for Pony Lovers)

Highest Marks for Stage Set, The JR Smith Trophy; Dunoon Players (A Respectable Funeral)

Stage Management Award, The Lorn Drama Festival Trophy; Seil Drama Group ((Don’t) Throw it away)

Highest Marks for Dramatic Production, The Dan Cleland Trophy; Accent Players (Grave Prospects)

Adjudicator’s Award, The Ardentallan Trophy; Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club Juniors (Charlotte Holmes: Future Detective)

A Moment in Theatre, The Oban FM/Ian MacKay Memorial Trophy; Taynuilt and District Drama Society (When a Man Knows)

A Moment in Comedy, Anne Broughton Memorial Trophy; Finlay Brown, Taynuilt and District Drama Society Juniors (Bad Reception)

Original Script Award, The Drama Festival Quill; John Coulson and Caroline Morgan, Seil Drama Club ((Don’t) Throw it Away)

1st Junior, The Lorn Drama Festival Trophy; Taynuilt and District Drama Society Juniors (Bad Reception)

2nd Junior, Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club Juniors (Charlotte Holmes: Future Detective)