'Great pity' as youth drama festival cancelledBy Joe Finnerty
January 15, 2013
THE inaugural Woking Youth Drama Festival which was due to be held in the spring has been cancelled following a lack of support.
Organised by the Woking Drama Association, which runs the popular Woking Drama Festival in the autumn, the youth version was set to be a first for the borough.
It was scheduled to take place in March and schools and youth drama groups would have taken centre stage with the spotlight solely on youth entries.
But with only a handful of schools and drama groups signing up, the association has made the difficult decision to bring the curtain down on it.
Stewart Mison, the association chairman, is surprised with the lack of interest given the amount of youth groups and schools in the area.
He said: “It is a great pity that we have had to cancel this festival.
“It does, however, reflect the trend seen with many drama festivals up and down the country.
“With so many other pressures nowadays people no longer feel they can make that commitment.
“Having said that, with the number of dance and drama academies in the area and with drama on the school’s curriculum I am surprised at the low take-up.”
The youth festival was open to all those under the age of 21 and groups were invited to produce a play between 20 minutes and an hour long. Woking Borough Council had supported the initiative.
Those groups who had signed up for the youth version and will now miss out are now being encouraged to join in with the main drama festival later this year.
Mr Mison added: “We will continue to welcome youth entries into our annual drama festival in October and I hope that those groups who were happy to enter the March festival will decide to take part with us then.
“In the meantime thanks are due to Woking Borough Council for all of their hard work and support in looking to continue building and developing the performing arts traditions in Woking.”
This year will be the 55th running of the Woking Drama Festival, which takes place annually in October, and the association confirmed there was no threat to this popular event where actors from companies across Surrey, Hampshire and Middlesex tread the boards at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre.
The festival is one of the largest drama competitions in Britain, featuring two one-act plays each night.
The winning play for the 2012 festival was Pyrford Little Theatre’s production of Michael Frayn’s Audience.
More details of the 2013 festival programme will be released soon.