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Next Stage Youth showcase their talent at the 2016 Mid-Somerset Drama Festival

Posted: Tuesday 22 March, 2016

On Tuesday 8th March, over 30 members of Next Stage Youth took part in the 2016 Mid-Somerset Festival – a prestigious event held every year in Bath to celebrate the artistic abilities of everyone in the city and its environs. Next Stage Youth have a proud history with the Festival, competing every year in the Group Acting classes and generally winning at least one of them. 2016 was no exception, as it was Next Stage Youth groups who took the winners’ trophies in both the Under 21 and the 16 and Under classes. Every group thoroughly deserved the applause and congratulations they received from the adjudicator of each class, as the whole company had been working tirelessly since January on their extracts for the competition.

First up in the 16 and Under class was Lydia Cook’s group performing an extract from Daisy Pulls it Off by Denise Deegan. The adjudicator - Arthur Webb - enjoyed the piece very much and praised the use of the stage and the “super characterisation” shown by each of the five actors: Wen Cane, Abi Harvey, Floss Ingledew, Kristel Lankilde and Kat Petmezas. Daisy Pulls it Off was awarded 87 marks, gaining a Distinction.

Next to perform was Georgi Bassil’s group –Will Greensides, Jamie Kruse, Max Dooley, Ralph Leming, Hamish Row and Hugo Worrall – with an extract from the play version of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams. The boys performed their extract beautifully and the adjudicator was extremely impressed with their movement, stage-presence and maturity. He awarded Lord of the Flies 88 marks, a Distinction and they were the Winners.

The third NSY group performing in the Under 16 class was Hayley Fitton-Cook’s group with an extract from Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, adapted for the stage by Dominic Cooke. This group was the smallest number of actors from Next Stage Youth in the Under 16, with only four: Georgia Langley, Shay Hatchard, Maria Vincente and Raphi South. The group performed superbly, and the adjudicator commented on each actor’s clear understanding of the piece. They received a Commended 84 marks.

Lastly, Ann Ellison’s group took to the stage to perform their extract from The Crucible by Arthur Miller. James Head, Louis Judge-Hodkinson, Lily Stiles, Tiana James, Eleanor Harris and Barney Row impressed the adjudicator with their range, strength of character and maturity when performing the piece and were awarded a Commended 86 marks. This performance concluded the Under 16 class and the adjudicator then awarded the marks and commented on each performance. Winner of the class was Georgi’s Lord of the Flies, second place to Lydia’s Daisy Pulls it Off, third to Ann’s The Crucible and fourth place to Hayley’s Noughts and Crosses.

Later that same day, the two remaining groups from Next Stage Youth competed in the Under-21 Group Acting class. Ann’s The Crucible group and Lydia’s Noughts and Crosses group each did Next Stage Youth proud performing memorable extracts from these challenging plays. First to show their piece were Lydia Gibbons, Akhilesh Pai, Freya Bark and Ellie Williams with Noughts and Crosses. Each actor had worked very hard perfecting the serious tone of the extract and the play, and this impressed adjudicator - Ann Newson - who praised the actors on their imaginative attempt to portray the characters. The group was awarded a Commended 86 marks to take second place in the Under 21 group.

To round off this exciting day of competition was Ann’s Under 21 group performing The Crucible. This group – comprising of James Langley, Ben Armstrong, Amberley Couchman, Ella Macgregor, Alex Miller, Issy Jacob and Olivia Annis – gave an outstanding performance of this extract, and the adjudicator praised the well-rehearsed scene, with firmly established and sustained characters, and also mentioned the group’s excellent team-work. They were awarded 88 marks, Distinction, and won the first place in the class.

On Thursday 10th, the group who performed The Lord of the Flies extract were invited to take part in the prestigious ‘winnner’s concert’, performed at The Guildhall Bath in front of the organisers and friends of the Mid-Somerset Festival, as well as the winners of the other acting classes. The evening was a success and all six of the boys who performed enjoyed showing their piece to a large and appreciative audience.

All members of Next Stage Youth had worked so hard since January that we couldn’t let the competition be the last time they show-cased their talent and work. So, on Sunday 13th March, parent, friends and family, as well as members of the Next Stage adult company, arrived at The Mission Theatre to see what the Youthers had been working so hard on over the last couple of months. Each group performed their extract and then were officially awarded their certificates, a copy of the adjudicator’s comments and, for the two winning groups, their trophies. The afternoon was a huge success and each member of the audience was amazed by the talent shown by all the young actors. It was certainly a great way to end the Spring term of Next Stage Youth.

For more information about Next Stage Youth, see our website: To join, please call 01225 428600 or email (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and speak to Ann Ellison or Lydia Cook. Enrolment for the Summer Term is on April 17th at 4.30pm at The Mission Theatre.

Under 16 - Noughts and Crosses

Under 16 - The Crucible

Under 16 - Daisy Pulls it Off

Under 16 - Lord of the Flies

Under 21 - Noughts and Crosses

Under 21 - The Crucible

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