Ballymoney Literary & Debating Society scored a very palpable hit last week by winning the 2016 Newtownabbey One-Act Play Festival, in Ballyearl’s Courtyard Theatre.
The adjudicator was Arthur Webb - known widely across Ireland as a writer, educationalist and voice coach.
On the night concerned, Ballymoney Literary and Debating Society was competing alongside Holywood Players and the Belfast Barts and had previously entered the Bangor Festival and another in the Belvoir Players Theatre in Belfast.
So the competition was tough!
Directed by Philip Bradshaw, Ballymoney Literary and Debating Society produced and presented Alan Bennett’s play An Englishman Abroad, which the playwright himself adapted for the stage from his own television film, of the same name, which had been successfully produced in the early 80s for BBC TV starring Coral Brown and Alan Bates.
Not only did Philip’s production win the Newtownabbey Festival outright but it also gained a Best Actor award for one of the cast, Jeremy Lewis, and now goes on to be part of the One-Act Finals, in Belfast, at the end of January coming.
He was congratulated in particular by the adjudicator for the tightness of his direction, the very clever and easy-to-manoeuvre set and the effectiveness of the acting and this was echoed by the Ballyearl Theatre audience, which was very vocal in its appreciation.
Ballymoney Literary and Debating Society’s highly experienced and accomplished stalwarts Barbara Cooke, Mac Pollock and Heaney Sayers featured in the cast alongside newcomer, UU student, Andrew McAnallen and Jeremy Lewis - who last acted with the company in Barbara’s award winning production of Dancing at Lughnasa nearly twenty years ago.
Ballymoney Literary and Debating Society is very much looking forward to appearing in the Finals on 28 January and will be going “all out to win” - in the words of one cast member.
They will be up against some strong competition from the other Northern Ireland finalists!
* Keep up to date with the results from the finals with the Times.