With people from all over the country and even Northern Ireland attending the 12th annual Folk Festival all the concerts were sold out and the Festival goes from strength to strength. There were many highlights to the Festival but for me the young band Los Capitanes stole the show. We were blessed with wonderful weather all weekend providing a great setting for our outside events. Spontaneous performances by the dancers and musicians of Step This Way and Three Sheets to the Wind performing around the village green together with Alter Ego were enjoyed by many. The final singaround on Sunday in a packed Ceddesfeld Hall provided a wonderful finale to the Festival. People have already booked accommodation for next year with planning already underway and two main guests booked. An additional feature of the Festival was a production of 'Life in a Pit Village' by John Wrightson and Bob Lowery which provided a great evening enjoyed by elderly, housebound and disabled residents from the local area. We now look forward to the autumn and winter programme of live music nights at Sedgefield Cricket Club starting on 20th October with Snake Oil Trio as the main guest and support from Trevor Bond, Miserable Les, John Weighell and John Wrightson Band. Bob Edmundson
Sedgefield Drama Festival returned in fine style in September, with outstanding results for Sedgefield Players. Best Production, the Players’ imaginative reworking of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The Jewish Wife’, also won awards for costume and technical achievement. The cast won the Ensemble Award and Tom Guest was awarded Best Director for this production. Tom also won Best Actor for his sensitive portrayal of social worker Leslie in Sedgefield’s ‘A Touch of Rose Madder’, which also won the Audience Award and the Mayor’s Runner-up Award. Tom also directed a fine ensemble in Sedgefield Players Youth Section, whose production ‘Remote’ won the award for Best Set, using simple staging and a variety of levels to great effect. Cameron Andrews, as the observant outsider, was awarded best Male Performer under 21. Unison Theatre’s Beth Crame won Best Female under 21 for her moving portrayal of a young woman whose life is blighted by the cruel mocking of her peers. The company, students from Newcastle College for Performing Arts, also won the Peter Young Quaich for Youth and the Best 30 Seconds Award. Their tutor and director for this production, Tom Guest won the Adjudicator’s Award for all his work on behalf of Sedgefield Festival. Helena Langero won Best Actress and Doug Clayton Best Supporting Actor as the daughter and father in Chekhov’s ‘The Proposal’, performed with great gusto by Richmond Amateur Dramatic Society. Best Supporting Actress Shannon Waters gave a wonderful portrayal of the painfully shy Fay in Nunthorpe Players’ hilarious production of ‘Acting, it’s not Plumbing’. Another young actress, Lucy McCabe of Matchbox Theatre Company, won the Cameo Award for Janet, the mouthy young mum in ‘Muse’, part of a trilogy of short plays by local writer Tom Casling. The Award for Endeavour, given in memory of Ray Tate, a long-standing member of Sedgefield Players with his wife Dorothy, went to Shoestring Theatre Company, on their first ever foray into festivals with ‘The Ladybirds’. Cliffe Theatre’s chilling presentation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ won the Ruby Award for Originality, first awarded in 2015, in celebration of 40 years of Sedgefield Drama Festival. Organiser Norma Neal said, ‘After 40 successful years, we were unable to run a festival in 2016. Having skipped a year, we are delighted to have returned in such strength. Our adjudicator Paul Fowler, on his first visit to Sedgefield, was very impressed by the efficiency and friendliness of the festival, which has a great reputation nationwide. Good to be back!’
The annual Lirica concert will take place on Saturday 7th October in Ceddesfeld Hall, starting at 7:30pm. ‘Dreaming of a Song’ will feature a selection of old favourites and modern tracks, performed by the well-established community choir. Lirica shows always prove to be popular, so get your tickets quickly. They cost £5 each and are available from Tickety Boo or by calling 01740 622185.