The Deloraine Drama Festival

The Deloraine Drama Festival

Deloraine Dramatic Society. The Little Theatre, Meander Valley Performing Arts Festival. Cameron Hindrum (Adjudicator). Greg Burgess (Sound). Kim Clark (Lighting). Rebecca Rowe (Stage Manager). Patricia Woods (Festival Manager). 15-16 October 2021

Anne-Blythe-Cooper reports.

The Deloraine Dramatic Society is 70 years old. The Drama Festival is some 41 years old and has been instrumental in the formation of many careers in the Arts in Tasmania, not least of which is that of John X of Hobart - although apparently it took ten years for Xintavelonis to be awarded “Best actor”.

The Little Theatre has had a recent refurbishment of the foyer, but the backstage area remains familiarly the same.  The stage creaks under foot and the house curtain is hand-drawn. There are no ‘comms’ to the sound and lighting desks. And yet, it is a magical place full of memories.  Many adults in the audience last weekend would have attended Youth Festivals forty years previously.

Top two images of theatre by Greg Burgess.

The 41st festival was a mixture of young and old, north and south, comedy and drama. Such is the prestige of the festival, often mainlands groups will travel to Tasmania. These groups were missed in 2021 but the programme was bolstered by representation from the south, despite the snap lockdown. Only one play did not go ahead and another still ‘came off’ very well even though actor, Phillip Crouch, script in his hand, read in for an absent cast member. The feeling at the festival was relaxed and collegial.  As well as offering the opportunity to present drama, the festival is an excellent way to catch up with other performers and enjoy the scenic and culinary delights of the Meander Valley.

Twelve of the thirteen plays presented over the weekend were original works. Several had already been aired at OneFest in Hobart last July where a similar proportion were also new works.  This is a very positive trend.  FrogSpell written By Kate Vosper of This Theatre Company did very well at both the southern and northern festivals. Awarded Best Production in Hobart, it took the “JOHN X AWARD for encouraging promising young directors and actors” at Deloraine. This Theatre Company was one of several up-and-coming younger groups (Top Ten and Lulo) who performed with energy and enthusiasm.

Image: "Frogs" cast. Photographer: Maddie Clifford.

Festival stalwarts also produced excellent material. Ian MacQueen was justly recognised for Every Day, as was Greg Burgess for Einstein on the Bridge and Scott Hunt for his several works.

The one published play, listed as a “dark experimental comedy” by T. K. Lee, was in the absurdist vein. On How to Accommodate Marlo's Frying Pan was possibly under-appreciated by the audience, but there was some excellent acting and direction in the presentation.

Adjudicator Cameron Hindrum was succinct in his feedback, commenting on the strength of relationships depicted and the quality of storytelling.  The awards ceremony took place at Glendalough, the gracious home of Festival Director, Patricia Woods, who has organised all but 5 of the 41 festivals.  Revelry continued well into the night.

Image: Ross Hay - best  male performer, Greg Burgess - playwright, Particia Woods, festival Director and Adjudicator - Cameron Hindrum. Photographer: Grey Burgess.

The Deloraine Drama festival is a fun relaxed and social weekend of theatre where ideas are shared, craft is honed, and careers moulded.

The full list of awards appears below.

JOHN X AWARD for encouraging promising young directors and actors

THIS THEATRE COMPANY  Frog Spell: A Very Unfairytale

Written and directed by Kate Vosper

GRAHAM CORRY AWARD BEST DIRECTOR

SQUARE PEGS presented  Coping with Covid and Everyday

Written by Ian McQueen

Directed by Peter Orpin

BEST MALE PERFORMER

Ross Hay

The National Theatre of Northwest Tasmania

Einstein on the Bridge

Written by Greg Burgess

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER

Helen Edwards

SQUARE PEGS

Everyday

Written by Ian McQueen

Directed by Peter Orpin

Image: Helen Edwards - Best Female Performer. Photographer: Grey Burgess.

CAMERON HINDRUM AWARD for Best Script

Ian McQueen for Coping with Covid and Everyday

HONOURABLE MENTION FEMALE ACTOR

Sally Goldstein

For CROSSING

Witten by Scott Hunt

Directed by George Franklin

CAMERON HINDRUM SPECIAL AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORT

Taboo. The performing dog

The Rumblebirds

Mother Valerian root rumblebird (the ultimate stage mother gets some help)

Written and Directed by Nicole Simms

BEST PRODUCTION

The National Theatre of Northwest Tasmania

Einstein on the Bridge

Written by Greg Burgess

 

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.