We are very lucky here in Ramsbottom, not only do we have many fantastic restaurants, but we have a fantastic local amateur theatre group the Summerseat Players.
If you’ve not heard of Summerseat Players before they’re based at the Theatre Royal on Smithy Street in Ramsbottom. I actually spoke to Stephen Gill back in January 2016 and Elizabeth Dunn in August 2016 of Summerseat Players.
Summerseat Players enjoyed fantastic success at this year’s Greater Manchester Drama Federation (GMDF) Awards which took place at the Last Drop Village Hotel last Saturday.
Walking into the awards with 27 nominations, more than any other of the 47 societies involved with the GMDF, there was already a sense of achievement.
Out of those 27 nominations, Summerseat Players took home 10 awards on the night. This included the highest award, The Drama Shield for Best Overall Dramatic Achievement, won by Summerseat’s September production of Morecambe by Tim Whitnall, a one man show performed impeccably by Chris Dunn, and directed by Paul Bracewell. Morecambe also won Best Production, and Chris Dunn won Best Actor for his outstanding performance as Eric Morecambe, alongside playing 36 other different characters.
This is the second year in a row that Summerseat Players have taken home the Drama Shield; last year, it was won by their hilarious production of Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig.
There were other successes for Summerseat’s November production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Glyn Robbins’ beautiful play won a Technical award alongside another of Summerseat’s productions, One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean. Amelia Butterworth and Sophia Aspin were awarded Best Female Youth Performers for their portrayals of Susan and Lucy respectively. This magical production also won Best Production, and director Elizabeth Dunn was given a special Adjudicator’s Award for her design and creation of the impressive Aslan puppet.
Summerseat’s first Next Generation production (plays performed, directed and technically supported by people under thirty) also enjoyed great success. Girls Like That by Evan Placey, produced by first time director Rebecca Carney, won Best Production, and the whole cast received a special Adjudicator’s Award for outstanding ensemble playing.
Both Girls Like That and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe were also nominated for the Drama Shield.
The Muriel Goodwin Trophy for outstanding contribution to the development and encouragement of young people in all aspects of amateur theatre was awarded to Paul Bracewell and Chris Balmer of Summerseat Players for their leadership of Summerseat’s award winning Youth Theatre.
Now in its 75th year, the GMDF is the largest organisation of its kind in the country, supporting and promoting all aspects of the amateur theatre movement in Greater Manchester. With 47 member societies producing 160 plays last season, this certainly proves that theatre is thriving in this part of the world, and that competition for last Saturday’s awards was fierce.
This is a fantastic end to a wonderful season at the Theatre Royal.
It doesn’t stop there though, rehearsals are already underway for Summerseat Players for their September production of And A Nightingale Sang by C.P. Taylor, a heart-warming and nostalgic play set in wartime Manchester. Tickets go on sale online from 17th August, and can be purchased directly from the Box Office from 6th September. The play runs from 14th-21st September, with a preview performance on 12th September.