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National Drama Festival returns to the Albany Theatre


National Drama Festival at the Albany Theatre, Coventry from 20 – 23 July.


The National Drama Festival takes place at the Albany Theatre, Coventry between the 20 and 23 July - and they have just announced their first confirmed entry whill be coming from 1,500 miles away!


English speaking members of the Gibraltar Academy of Music and Performing Arts (GAMPA) will journey from close to the southernmost point in Europe to the English Midlands - a 3,000 mile round trip. Most of the six-strong cast will take the three-hour flight from the British Overseas Territory to Heathrow before travelling onwards by rail to Coventry. Their set will be freighted to Coventry by road on a three-day journey across the length of Spain and France.


GAMPA’s play, “Signed, Me” by Hannah Mifsud and Academy Principal Christian Santos, swept the board, winning six awards, at the Gibraltar International Drama Festival, including Best Play and Best Director. It scored a whopping 91 points from adjudicator Bev Jenkins, a member of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators, who praised both: ”A masterclass in delivering poignant monologues and the pathos shown by the younger actors.” A score of 80 is considered to have met the GoDA benchmark of excellence.


It was the adjudicator who suggested to the winners that they should enter the National Drama Festival, run by the National Drama Festivals Association, which is returning to the art-deco Albany Theatre in Coventry for the third time this year, from 20 to 23 July. A total of 14 groups in the categories of Adult One-Act and Full-length and Youth One-Act will take part in the four-day event.



Christian Santos, said: “I am always looking for new opportunities for our students and adult members alike, and I have always wanted to compete at other drama festivals that feel different to the one we already take part in. The NDF felt like the perfect choice.


“This is a great opportunity for our cast to experience performing alongside top-quality groups, and at another theatre. Having been selected is an absolute honour, and we immediately decided to participate. It is very exciting for us. It may be a fair distance, but we are very much looking forward to travelling to the UK, and Coventry, and being part of the prestigious National Drama Festival.”


The one-act play traces the enduring friendship of two central characters through their childhood and teenage years and onwards. Christian says the work is based on “my personal journey based on life experiences and how a friendship can affect your life.”


He added: “It’s about friendship and love and trust. We all have that one friend that changed our life.”


He brought in co-author Hannah Mifsud to add an objective perspective to the semi-autobiographical work.

Hannah said: “The first time I saw the play in performance was in dress rehearsal and I was crying by the end of it, even though I had written half the words on the page.”


Rod Chaytor, chair of the National Drama Festivals Association, said: “it has always been my personal belief that the National Drama Festival should represent the whole of the British Isles with a strong international flavour. I cannot think of a better expression of that vision than to welcome a top quality group from close to the most southerly tip of Europe, willing to make a return journey of thousands of miles to compete alongside the cream of British amateur theatre.”


The cast is Adam, played by Christian Santos; Young Adam played by Ethan Benitez, aged eight; Young Amy played by Alyssa Prescott, also aged eight; Young Teen Adam, played by Leon Galia aged 13; Young Teen Amy, played by Luna Lee aged 12, and Older Teen Adam, played by Gino Ochello aged 16.


National Drama Festival is being held at the Albany Theatre, Coventry 20 July to 23 July 2023. For more information and tickets go to: https://www.albanytheatre.co.uk/whats-on/



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