Welwyn Garden City Youth Drama Festival winners announced at Barn Theatre

PUBLISHED: 13:08 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 13:09 11 March 2016

The Archer Academy celebrate their triumph in the Welwyn Garden City Youth Drama Festival

The Archer Academy celebrate their triumph in the Welwyn Garden City Youth Drama Festival

Archant

A dramatic week at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City reached its climax on Saturday night, with the prizes in this year's WGC Youth Drama Festival awarded.

Junior award winner Andrew Dean with John CookJunior award winner Andrew Dean with John Cook

The 72nd WGC Youth Drama Festival winners were announced after the week-long event’s final one-act plays were performed.

Teams from all over the county and beyond came together with amazing good spirits and camaraderie for the annual drama festival, with Phoenix YTC and The Archer Academy from Finchley winning the senior and junior cups.

Senior award winner Lauren Hussein with a performer from Phoenix and John CookSenior award winner Lauren Hussein with a performer from Phoenix and John Cook

Barn artistic director Coral Walton said: “It really turned out to be a wonderfully creative affair with honours going to our very own Phoenix Youth Theatre Company group from Welwyn Garden City with a fascinating and imaginative piece, Girl Interrupted, based on a memoir by Susanna Kaysen, which tells of the teenager’s 18-month stay at a mental institution in the 1960s.

“Unusual material for a piece of youth drama but beautifully performed by the group under the careful direction of Lauren Hussein.”

Prize winners

* Senior First –Youth Committee Cup: Phoenix YTC for Girl Interrupted, directed by Lauren Hussein.

* Senior Second – Nero’s Cup: Pump House CYT for Blackout by Davy Anderson, directed by Moya Brewer.

* Senior Third – Annand Cup: Chancellor’s School for 45 Minutes by Anya Reiss, directed by Lauryn Saunders.

* Junior First – Elizabeth Cory-Wright Cup: The Archer Academy for Medea by Liz Lochhead, directed by Andrew Dean and Kayleigh Randall.

* Junior Second – Hinton Cup: Beaumont Junior Drama Company for It Snows by Bryony Lavery, directed by Lynsey Wallace.

* Junior Third – Louis Davis Cup: JCoSS for Darkwood Manor by Chris Harrison, directed by Sonja Miller.

* Technical Award – Ball England Cup: Barn Hedwig for Hood by Katherine Chandler, directed by Kim Southey.

* Adjudicator’s Award: Barnwell School for Missing, directed by Natalie Bishop.

Coral added: “Never let it be said that our youngsters shy away from serious subject matter.

“The junior winners from Archer Academy in East Finchley were absolutely terrific with a stunning performance of Medea by Liz Lochhead, presented with all the aplomb of actors from the National.”

Directed by Andrew Dean and Kayleigh Randall, the piece certainly deserved the accolades it received.

Second and third places for seniors went to Watford-based Pump House CYT and Chancellor’s School from Brookmans Park for Blackout and ‘45 Minutes’ respectively.

Welsh adjudicator Christopher Baglin, decked in a Welsh tartan waistcoat, dragon embossed bow tie and velvet suit, entered into the spirit of the awards ceremony.

He said he was impressed with the quality of performance in his first festival for GoDA, and the enormous enthusiasm for this “live” entertainment 72 years after the festival’s innovation.

The awards were presented by John Cook, a Barn member and professional actor whose interest was kindled at the WGC theatre when he was a member of the Barn Youth Theatre himself under the direction of Simon Turner.

The Adjudicator’s Award, shaped as a star, was give to a beautifully crafted movement section within Missing, a devised piece from Barnwell School in Stevenage.

Other Junior prizes were awarded to St Albans school Beaumont for delightful play It Snows, and JCoSS from Barnet for the spooky Darkwood Manor complete with projections.

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