Bayside and Westside Drama Group have added yet more awards to their impressive trophy collection. The group recently returned from Rochester, UK, having won the Best Play Award at the Duncan Rand Youth One Act Play Festival for the third year running, with Layla, an original play by Julian Felice. The group’s visit to UK included joint workshops with the Medway Little Theatre’s Youth Company, themselves regular visitors to the Rock.
This is the sixth year that the group of students has travelled to Rochester to take part in the festival at the Medway Little Theatre, led by Julian Felice and Dulcie Edwards. The group’s hard-hitting play, Layla, uses a school shooting to explore the dark side of teenage relationships and confusion caused by the maelstrom of emotions, scrambling for status, hormonal fluxes and social expectations that are found in school life and seen through the eyes of the main character, Layla, played by Carmen Anderson, who won the Award for Best Actress with her gritty portrayal and realistic representation of an unreliable and not entirely sympathetic character. In her role of thoroughly nasty bully Lucy, and with a mention of her skills in timing her cues perfectly, Natasha Richardson won a Certificate of commendation.
The group also presented a light-hearted comedy, Calle Comedia, in the style of commedia dell’arte, which was received well by the audience despite the Gibraltarian in-jokes and cultural references. The play earned Kai Nemes a well-deserved award for Best Supporting Actor.
To perform such contrasting plays on the same night after a full day of rehearsals and win these awards is testament to the talent, dedication and effort of all the players and the adults that inspire their constant enthusiasm.