Curtain set to go up on historic arts Festival’s drama spin-off

Lytham St Annes Arts Festival organising team member,Stephanie Heney (right) and Victoria Cornwall of the Glendower Hotel with the trophy being awarded for the new one-act plays festival being held at St Bede's School

Lytham St Annes Arts Festival organising team member,Stephanie Heney (right) and Victoria Cornwall of the Glendower Hotel with the trophy being awarded for the new one-act plays festival being held at St Bede's School

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The stage is set for a long-established Fylde cultural festival to expand its range with a dramatic spin-off.

The Lytham St Annes Festival of Performing Arts, with a history dating back more than a century, launches its One-Act Play Festival this weekend - and it is hoped will become a regular feature in its own right.

Amateur actors from Poulton Drama Group and Blackburn Drama Club will perform works including Anton Chekov’s The Bear at St Bede’s RC High School, Lytham on Saturday from 10am – and festival officials are confident the event will be back even bigger and better next year and will hopefully grow to become an annual feature of the calendar.

“It’s a new feature we are very excited about,” said Festival committee member Stephanie Heney.

“Other groups which were lined up have had to give back word so we are starting with the two groups but there is major scope for growth.

“The festival is competitive and experienced adjudicator Chris Marlow will be awarding trophies for best play, best director, best male actor, best female actor, best staging and best lighting/sound.

“We are grateful to the Glendower Hotel who are sponsoring the best play trophy and other local businesses, including the Dalmeny Hotel, who have also been kind enough to back us.”

The Performing Arts Festival was launched in 1901 as the Lytham Congregational Church Choir’s Grand Competition Festival in 1901, and continues to thrive, annually attracting competitors galore of all ages in a wide range of performance categories.

It will next be held at St Bede’s on March 25 next year, while also to be spun-off from it next April is a Festival of Choirs, to be held at Kirkham Grammar School.

The latter event is the result of recent growth of the choirs aspect of the Festival of Performing Arts, fitting as the event was originally conceived as a choirs festival, expanded in later years to include other arts.

Victoria Cornwall, director of sales at the Glendower Hotel, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Festival and to sponsor the best play trophy for such a unique event in the local area.”

Saturday’s One-Act Play Festival starts at 10am and continues through the day. Tickets, at £8, can be bought on the day or by calling 07780 777958. Details at www.lsa-festival-of-performing-arts.org.uk