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Date added: 13 February 2008

Playing up! 

One-Act Play Festival continues in to 61st year

Harold Jolliffe at the Swindon Arts Centre
Drama competition:
the festival is like the FA Cup
of acting
One of the longest running arts events in Swindon's history takes place at the Arts Centre from Thursday to Saturday of this week, 7.15pm nightly and 1pm Saturday at Swindon Arts Centre.
 
For over fifty years, Swindon has hosted a competition between local drama groups performing one-act plays.

And the Festival - recently re-named the Harold Jolliffe One Act Play Festival - continues to go from strength to strength.
 
Simply put, the Festival is like an FA Cup for acting. Theatre groups rehearse a play, and perform it in front of an adjudicator and audience.

This year's competition features plays over three evenings performed by amateur groups from Swindon and the surrounding area.

Hosted by the Swindon and District Theatre Guild, the Festival is also the first round in a national competition - The All England Theatre Festival.

Nowadays, the Festival is fittingly named after Harold Jolliffe - 'The Father of Cultural Life in Swindon'.

Harold Jolliffe, Swindon
Father of Cultural
Life in Swindon:
Harold Jolliffe
Harold was the Chief Librarian and Curator of the Borough of Swindon from 1946 to 1969 and was the driving force behind the establishment of the country's first dedicated municipal Arts Centre, here in Swindon.

Continuing very much in the same spirit, Joan Cheshire, President of the Swindon and District Theatre Guild, has been involved with the Festival since its very inception in the 1940s.

And she has lost none of her enthusiasm. "When Iím asked why I love the Festival, I have so many answers to hand!", she says. "Most of all, I suppose, itís because to me the Festival allows our young talent to flourish in a supportive environment."

Arts Centre in Old Town, Swindon
Where the magic happens:
the Arts Centre in Old Town
Times have obviously changed since Joan first got involved half a century ago, but there's one thing that's changed more than anything.

"It's the freedom of speech we enjoy now. I don't mean the political meaning of the phrase at all; more the freedom to express thoughts and emotions, in ways and words which all those years ago would have been frowned upon at best Ė or perhaps not allowed at all!"

The big prize everyone is going for is the award for Best Play - the winner of which will go forward to the next round of the All England Theatre Festival.
 
And if they manage to 'wow' the judges there, the Swindon winner could then go on to compete in the English and British finals.
 
Fingers crossed!
 
Harold Joliffe One Act Festival, website by SwindonWeb
Supporting the Festival:
take a look at the website we've produced for HJ08

SwindonWeb has supported local dramatic groups in the past and continues to do so today. And for the third year running, we are also pleased to be giving our support to the Festival itself.
 
Our contribution is a website which has already proved to be a big hit.
 
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