On the Road Again
- winner of the 2003 All England One Act Play Festival -

     In 2003, St. Austell Players entered the All England Festival of One Act Plays with their production of On the Road Again by Lawrence Allan. Freddie Rowe, the director, carefully selected this two-hander as one ideally suited to the festival and cast Darren Williams and Paul Brady as Beefy and Rich, knowing that their talents and enthusiasm would be completely dedicated to the project.
     After winning a preliminary round at St. Austell, then the Western Division Final at Falmouth and the Western Area Final at Rugely, Staffordshire, the production went on to win the All England Final at Port Sunlight, Cheshire. A Cornish group had never won the Finals before, so it was a particularly fine achievement.
     Winning the All England Festival meant that St. Austell Players had the honour of representing England at the British Final Festival, held at the beginning of July at Douglas, Isle of Man.
     Here below are a few of the site's news items generated during the production's progress.

     (As a small token of thanks to all the other groups who supported us so generously, some of us collected our thoughts on the festival experience in the hope that others might benefit from our not entirely frivolous views. See Festival Feedback.)

On the Road Again - Again!
     They've done it again! Freddie Rowe's production of Laurence Allen's two-hander, On the Road Again, with Paul "Springs" Brady and Darren Williams, having won through the first round on March 22nd at St. Austell, swept the board at the Western Division Finals of the All England Theatre Festival at Falmouth on April 26th. Not only did On the Road Again win The Newquay Challenge Trophy for Best Play, but Paul and Darren were jointly awarded The Doris Berryman Memorial Cup for Best Actor and Freddie collected The Doris Berryman Award for Best Director. Many congratulations to 'our lads' on winning these awards, well-earned by their beautifully crafted and absorbing performances.
     The competition gets even tougher now as they go to the next round. They will literally be On the Road Again to the Western Area Finals at Rugeley, Staffordshire, on May 10th. Our very best wishes go with them and may they 'break a leg' at Rugeley.
Darren Williams
as Beefy
On the Road Again - AND Again!

        Congratulations! St. Austell Players have triumphed again with 'Best Play', at the Western Area Finals of the All England Festival on One Act Plays held in Rugeley, Staffs., on May 10th.
       The play, On the Road Again, by Lawrence Allan, won through against competition from the winning plays of the Central, Eastern, Midland and Southern Divisions, all of them of a very high standard. The adjudicator, Miss Sheila Howells, had nothing but praise for this duologue between two drifters philosophising in the broken-down caravan they call home.      On paper, the play had not shown its brilliance but the director and actors had lifted the words off the page and made it into something special. She particularly praised the depth of characterisation by Darren Williams (Beefy) and Paul "Springs" Brady (Rich) - the one bitter at life, abrasive, and nursing a gammy leg, the other trying to make the most of his lot, basking in the bravado of non-achievement.
       Having won through Stage One at St. Austell, the play swept the board at the Western Division Finals at Falmouth on April 26th. It won the Newquay Challenge Trophy for Best Play,        Paul and Darren were jointly awarded the Doris Berryman Memorial Cup for Best Actors and Freddie Rowe collected the Doris Berryman Award for Best Director.
       With one-third of England conquered, our Cornish players now go on to represent the Western Area in the English national final at Port Sunlight, Cheshire, on June 14th, where they come up against the Northern and Eastern Areas. If successful there, they could go even further and represent England against Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the British final on July 4th-5th on the Isle of Man. Good Luck!

  Beefy & Rich
  Photo: TJF Video        
Special Performance
of this outstanding and award winning short production
Tues 10th June 8 pm
at the Arts Theatre
Tickets at the door - £2 or donation
towards travel costs.
(See also Current & Future Productions)
"Keep Theatre
alive in Cornwall"

"Amateur Drama
at its best"
On the Road Again - All England Winner!

     St Austell Players triumphed in the national final of the All England Festival of One Act Plays on Saturday, 14th June, at Port Sunlight, Cheshire, against the best amateur drama groups from the rest of England.
    The Adjudicator, Richard Woodward, praised the play, 'On the Road Again' by Laurence Allan, for its comedy and pathos and for the brilliant characterisations of Paul Brady as Rich and Darren Williams as Beefy.
Frederick Rowe, the Director, who has been with St. Austell Players over fifty years, said: "This is the first play I have directed for the Festival, although I participated as an actor some years ago. It is the furthest St Austell Players have ever gone in the competition. Indeed, it is the first play from Cornwall ever to win, and a tribute to the dedicated hard work and ability of the two actors involved." Stage management and sound & lighting were expertly handled by Craig Taylor and Steve Holland respectively.
    The play had previously progressed through three rounds of Divisional and Area finals - at St Austell, Falmouth and Rugeley - gaining awards all the way. The winning team returns home, this time carrying the John Maude Cup to add to the burgeoning array of trophies now gracing the St Austell Arts Centre bar.
    With the phenomenal victory over All England behind them, our Cornish troupers still march ever onward, to represent England at the British Final against Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the Isle of Man on July 4th/5th.   

  Beefy & Rich
  Photos: TJF Video


The End of the Road . . . and Thanks for your support!

St. Austell Players represented England at The British Final Festival of One Act Plays
in the Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle of Man, on July 4th and 5th,
with On the Road Again, by Lawrence Allan.

Early morning, Douglas Bay, Isle of Man
     Well, On the Road Again didn't win The British Finals. But those of us who saw the marvellous winning performance of The Steamie by the the Kirkton Players, representing Scotland, could only congratulate them on their triumph and hardly feel disappointed at being a runner up in such illustrious company. Also competing were Theatre 3 Newtownabbey, with The Rats, representing Northern Ireland, and Players Anonymous, performing The Bespoke Overcoat, representing Wales.
    Since we were representing the host country, England, St. Austell Players had the dubious honour of being first 'on', on Friday evening (and, ironically, had the furthest to travel). Paul and Darren acquitted themselves as well as they have ever done, all the backstage functions ran smoothly and there was probably no more to give, performance-wise. The adjudicator's (Russell Whiteley) decision was, it seems, all down to subtle nuances that, perhaps, made us wish that we could have had the benefit of his insight and expertise at the beginning of 'The Road'. His adjudications were perceptive, constructive, delivered with down-to-earth common sense and humour and were much appreciated by the competing groups and audience alike.

Gaiety Theatre, Douglas.
(Click here to go to Gaiety w-site)
    We'll probably never forget, or have again, the experience of working in the wonderful Gaiety Theatre, Douglas. This is a 100-year-old Frank Matcham masterpiece, beautifully refurbished in all its original glory. The first sight of this 1,000-plus seater, with its huge raked stage, was pretty daunting. Fortunately, we had a good deal longer than the half-hour setting-up and rehearsal time we had got used to in previous rounds. Even so, we struggled to make our small representational set, that had earlier served us so well with its quick setting and striking, look anything but a bit lost on this vast acreage, particularly with the limited adjustments of the lighting rig available to us.     
     The Road had to end somewhere, but what a ride it gave us - St Austell, Falmouth, Rugeley, Port Sunlight and Douglas, IOM. Apart from the many highs, just one or two little lows and seemingly endless miles, what we'll probably remember most of all is the enthusiasm, selfless support and encouragement of all our friends and fellow amdrams across Cornwall.

Steve H. 8July03

Trying to relax between Set-up
and Performance.

  THANKS . . . . are due to many, especially to the author, Laurence Allan, for his generosity; to those behind the scenes who helped with the production: particularly Craig Taylor and Steve Holland, in charge of stage management and lighting and sound and, latterly, 'the roadies'; the St Austell Players members who helped in many ways, e.g. organising raffles, providing prizes and helping with fundraising; publicity, including photography, website management and dispensing numerous press releases.
          St Austell Players would like to express their grateful thanks to the following people and organisations for their donations towards the costs involved in taking part in the All-England Theatre Festival:
Veryan Players
Newquay Dramatic Society
Cornwall Drama Association
T J Brent
Elliot and Marshall
St Austell Lions
The Mayor of Restormel
Mrs E. Berey
  The groups at Falmouth and Rugeley who donated the proceeds of their raffles.All those who attended the two fundraising performances of 'On the Road Again', and were so very generous. All those who helped and supported the team and escaped mention here.
<Back to top              <<Back