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National award for Frome Drama Club

A team from Frome Drama Club has recently enjoyed success with ‘Me And My Friend’ by Gillian Plowman, culminating in winning an award at the national final of the All England Theatre Festival. 

The director of the play, Christine Dunn, cast Alan Burgess and Aynsley Minty in the roles of Bunney and Oz, two psychiatric patients who have been released from hospital to live in a small bedsit in the community. The slightly cramped set with a mix of order (Oz) and chaos (Bunney), wide ranging props, effective use of music, sound and lighting, all won plaudits from the adjudicators in the course of the four rounds of the competition.

The play was chosen from nine entries in the Somerset Festival to go through to the Wessex final which was held at The Merlin in February. After winning at The Merlin, the play then progressed to the Southern area final in Teignmouth and winning there secured a place in the national final at Evesham.

In his adjudication of the final, Chris Jaeger, a senior member of the Guild of Adjudicators, jointly awarded The Paul Dyson Trophy to Alan Burgess and Aynsley Minty for their performances in the play.

Their shifting in and out of humour and tragedy was at times almost uncomfortable to watch. Their imaginary worlds, where they were content, and their real world, which caused them high anxiety and finally led to Oz cradling Bunney in his arms after a suicide attempt, had been praised throughout all rounds of the competition.

In a close run contest Chis Jaeger chose ‘For the love of a butterfly’, a magical fairy tale from a group in Tamworth, as the overall winning play with ’Me And My Friend’ a very close second.

Christine Dunn said afterwards, “It has been a wonderful journey and so rewarding to lead such a committed group through the competition. Apart from Alan and Aynsley, I particularly need to thank Mike Witt, Denise Gibbons, Simon Bowman, Migs and Bill Jacques and my husband Christopher. Our success has been built on great team work.”