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It's a Cracker!!

How we got to Woking




In early February, Rushen Players entered the play A Cream Cracker under the Settee in the MADF One Act Play Festival at Kings Court Theatre, Castletown. Our Play won the coveted Best Play, Best Actress, Best Comedic Moment and Special Dramatic Contribution awards.

To qualify for the British All Winners Festival (BAWF) - apart from already winning in a festival, a high score must have been attained. We were told that our marks were sufficient to qualify, but would have to wait until the results from all festivals throughout the British Isles were known.  In essence, The Best of the Best are chosen.

This year the 9th June was the date when BAWF were to make their final decision. Throughout the British Isles, dozens of directors were hovering by their phones, biting their nails, (well, I certainly was!!) to hear if their play was to be one of the lucky few. Yeay!! I received the exciting news, and set about spreading the glad tidings- (it's a long wait for us all, from February till June!)

 Suddenly, arrangements had to be made - travel, accommodation, finding and hiring transport large enough to hold the furniture and contents of an old ladies living-room, a stage set and hopefully, several of our team!

I was truly delighted to hear that The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company have a Supported Artists Grant scheme - (both the Isle of Man Arts Council and the Erin Arts Centre informed me of this) and the Staff at the Steam Packet administration office were terrifically helpful and enthusiastic in arranging for our transport and travel to enable us to benefit from this grant. Thank you so much, Isle of Man Steam Packet! 

Our play, written by Alan Bennett, is essentially a monologue, where for 35 minutes, Pat Clewis, our award-winning 86 year old actress, - alone on stage, and mostly on the floor - holds the audience spellbound, moving them from laughter to tears and back again, (sometimes within just one sentence!)  This is a feat for an actress at any age, and Pat Clewis pulls it off triumphantly, showing that age is no barrier to the Dramatic Arts. I feel quite sure that if Alan Bennett knew Pat, he would be writing plays for her!

I am delighted to be able to demonstrate to a wider audience, the high standards that our Island holds in the dramatic arts. I am so looking forward to getting that cosy living room set on stage in Woking and seeing Pat once more transport an audience with her engaging performance. There is of course the added frisson that she is competing with the Best of the Best. 

This will be the second time that Rushen Players has participated in the BAWF, having entered the award - winning I Dream Before I Take the Stand by Arlene Hutton, in 2016, directed by Susie Beswick. 

We are all from over the Bridge. Pat, Ian Galloway (in a very short but vital role as a policeman) myself (director) all live in Port Erin, Susie Beswick (Stage Manager) and Ron Beswick (Lights and Sound technician, ‘Roadie’) live in Port  St Mary.

We will be ‘flying the flag’ for the island, extolling its virtues whilst we are both en-route to, and at, our venue in Woking. We are looking forward to meeting other competing teams and telling them about our Drama Festivals on the Island, encouraging them to come along and participate in our wonderful Easter Festival of Plays (and the Gaiety is so handy for the Ferry terminal!). An extra, very exciting event for drama next year is that the 46th British All Winners Festival is being hosted on our island in July! This will also mark MADF's 40th anniversary.

We are now counting down the days before we board that ferry on our exciting trip. The group photo was taken outside my garage, where our set and props are being stored. Pat is sitting on the settee of the title. She wanted to have a go on it, as she never gets to sit on it in the play.

 Adrienne Sanderson - July 2019

 Our Performance at British All Winners Drama Festival with the generous support of
The Isle of Man Arts Council


and The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

iomspclogo 2019