RAF theatre sweeps the boards at awards

RAF Henlow Theatre awards.
RAF Henlow Theatre awards.

It has been a fabulous year for members of RAF Henlow Theatre with a string of awards.

The group has won the awards from the RAF Theatrical Association, culminating in the Premier Award for the best RAF theatrical society for 2016.

The club has a healthy membership from the military, civil service and civilian communities and there is still room for more members to join.

At the RAF Theatrical Association Festival, held at the Defence Academy Shrivenham in May, the RAF Henlow play, ‘Silent Night’, was one of many one-acts from across the UK to be represented.

Henlow Theatre left the festival with four awards, winning the Lyneham Cup for stage presentation.

A cutaway Anderson Shelter proved a piece of remarkable construction for the stage, constructed by Ray Wood and his team. Lighting and sound effects, delivered by Ian Dixon-Wilkinson and Chris Cook, induced the audience to believe they were part of a World War 2 air raid.

Best Actor award was given to Shayn Dickens who played the part of Jack, a 16-year- old boy with a pet tortoise. The Brize Norton Trophy for Overall Winners of the festival was a proud achievement for Henlow Theatre members.

Whilst, Keith Lander, Sue Kennedy, Shayn Dickens, Carly Fielding and Douglas Harding performed on stage, the efforts of those supporting the event as stage crew, sound, lighting, make-up, wardrobe and roadies ensured the unqualified success for the play. There was, however, a final twist, as every play should have, the Lula Bula award for biggest ‘cock up’ of the weekend. This saw three of the technical members (and one of the cast!) head to the event from Bedfordshire to Oxfordshire via Wales.

Henlow Theatre very nearly ran away with all the trophies as there were deserved nominations in other categories - Chris Proctor for Innovative Direction and Sue Kennedy for Best Actress.

Plays were also adjudicated by the RAF Theatrical Association at various theatres across the RAF theatre clubs over the course of the year. In this, RAF Henlow scored highly in a number of categories for this year’s pantomime and full-length plays.

The Henlow Theatre membership were recently brought together for the presentation of the certificates and trophies by the Station Commander, Wing Commander Mark Clulo. A theatre spokesman said: “It was quite a shock that the RAF Theatrical Association had considered Henlow Theatre for so many awards. Henlow Theatre have a core of selfless individuals, mainly civilian, that have ensured the longevity, creativity and high performance levels in the club. It is particularly pleasing that their efforts have gained recognition and the Club was proud to have bathed in their success.

“Whilst the military presence at the station has reduced over the last few years, there has been a steady increase in military theatre club members.

“The chairman, Squadron Leader Alan Huyton, was but one of many to have joined over the last year. We now hope to draw some more members into the club as we publicise our achievements.”

These are:

RAFTA One-Act Play Festival 2016.

Silent Night. Lyneham Cup for Presentation.

Silent Night. Brize Norton Cup for Best Stage Presentation

Silent Night. Best Actor – Shayn Dickens.

Lula Bula - Chris Cook.

RAFTA Annual Play Festival 2016.

Prescription For Murder. Best Production

Prescription For Murder. Best Stage Presentation

Blythe Spirit. Runner-up Best Production

Blythe Spirit. Runner-up Best Stage Production

Dick Whittington And His Cat. Joint with Brize Norton, Runner-up Best Pantomime.

Dick Whittington And His Cat. Runner-up (Triplar Trophy) Best Stage Production.

RAFTA Premier Trophy 2016. RAF Henlow Amateur Theatrical Society. Overall Winner

Henlow Theatre’s next production is the pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, January 27-29 and February 3-4.

The group meets at the Henlow Theatre, Henlow Camp on Wednesdays from 8pm until 10pm and new members are wecome.There is also a youth theatre (age 6 to 16) who meet every Tuesday from 6pm until 7:30pm. Membership is free.

Contact friendofhenlowtheatre@gmail.com, or visit http://www.henlowtheatre.org.uk