A celebration of all that’s best in amateur dramatics

Burgh Hall Players Ian Tyson as Gregor Wallace in the Church Meeting about to slam his hammer down, watched from left by Jacqueline Crouch as Kirsty McKay, Marie T Graham as Mary White and Mark Bonsor as the minister.

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Words and photos Mark Davey

Substitute bad for best and this is one of adjudicator Kevin Boland’s lines as he summed up at Kintyre’s 69th drama festival.

Mr Boland was talking about Mellow Drama, the play within a play, chosen by Peninver Players when he said the script is: ‘A celebration of all that’s bad in amateur dramatics and puts the A in amateur.’

Adjudicator Kevin Boland
Adjudicator Kevin Boland

Earlier an almost capacity audience had laughed through three, approximately half-hour, situation comedies unfolding on the Victoria hall stage last Friday evening.

Mr Boland, a Scottish drama veteran, did not agree that Dunoon’s Burgh Hall Players were superlative in The Church Meeting and Campbeltown’s Accent Players, performing A Dummy Run by Robin Wilson, pipped them to the title.

Gloria and madge in A Dummy Run
Gloria and madge in A Dummy Run

The win will see the five strong cast with director and stage manager Kenny Johnson head to the Fullerton theatre, at Castle Douglas, between March 22 to 24 for the Scottish Community Drama Association (SCDA), Western Divisional final. For tickets to that event call 0141-577-4956.

Perhaps the tables which the Dunoon troupe transported from a Cowal church hall caused their downfall.

Mr Boland, speaking about the sound of the gavel, said: ‘I wanted more substance in the table, but my standards are high. I did not want a plastic aluminium table, that’s why the Empire has gone, I wanted a solid chairman’s table.’

Ian Tyson in The Church Meeting
Ian Tyson in The Church Meeting

Speaking about Accent Players he added: ‘I liked the sense of death in the doctor’s surgery, the flowers and the posters and the Roald Dahl Tales of the Unexpected music was a good addition.’

Mr Boland also praised the leading ladies: Madge played by Martha Rennie and Maureen Johnson’s Gloria.

From Peninver Players’ Mellow Drama Mr Boland pronounced Joanne Gillies, who played a prompt, as having star quality and awarded her the best comedy performance prize.

He said the play had lovely moments of comedy let down by a just adequate set.

Speaking before the prizes were presented the president of SCDA’s Kintyre Argyll District, Martha Rennie, reminded the audience that next year is the 70th anniversary. She added it would be great to see more plays.

The victorious Accent Players team: Ron Rennie, Callum Craig, Sandy Glendinning, Kim Lafferty, Eric Spence, Catherine Ann Craig, Maureen Johnson, Kenny Johnson and Martha Rennie. 25_09dramafestival17

Burgh Hall Players’ director Yvonne Campkin accepted the Rose bowl for the 2nd placed production and the Visitor’s quaich for best moment of theatre. 25_09dramafestival19

Joanne Gillies won the John Bryce salver for best comedy performance and Peniver Players’ producer Anne Leith with the Dunaverty for 3rd place.  25_09dramafestival16

Burgh Hall Players Ian Tyson as Gregor Wallace in the Church Meeting about to slam his hammer down, watched from left by Jacqueline Crouch as Kirsty McKay, Marie T Graham as Mary White and Mark Bonsor as the minister. 25_09dramafestival06

Burgh Hall Players’ scene the minister’s wife played by Ann Narraway is in ‘the club,’ with Mark Bonsor as the minister, Karen Torlay as Heleen McVicar and Zak Fraser-McNeil as a farmer. 25_09dramafestival07

Peninver Players Kay Johnston as Clarinda/Gloria with Councillor John Armour done up as ‘Indiana Jones’ Squire Jack, noted for his windmilling arms. 25_09dramafestival02

Janette Hannah as Peninver Players Mother/Thelma and Kay Johnston as Clarinda/Gloria. 25_09dramafestival05

Eric Spence is the Man with the puppet, voiced by Callum Craig, in conversation with Maureen Johnson as Gloria. 25_09dramafestival14

Kim Lafferty as the receptionist with the puppet as a doctor. 25_09dramafestival11