The Festival of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies

FEATS NEWSLETTER

June 1998

FEATS ’98
29 May - 1 June 1998
Hosted by (BATS)
The British American Theatrical Society
at The Arenberg Theatre in Antwerp
List of Prize Winners


Congratulations and thanks to BATS

List of Prize Winners

Phillips Cup for 1st Place Bonn Players, Germany
The Open Couple by Dario Fo

Mervyn Briscoe Award for 2nd Place Frankfurt English Speaking Theatre, Germany
The Midlife Crisis of Dionysus by Garrison Keillor

Wedgwood Trophy for 3rd Place The Welton Theatre, RAF Laarbruch, Germany
The Children Act by Hogan Coyle

Anthony Cornish Discretionary Award New World Theatre Company, Luxembourg
for the Make-Up in Philip and Rowena by Gillian Plowman

Verulam Award for Hogan Coyle, The Welton Theatre
Best Original Script The Children Act

Best Actor Jens Blegaa, Copenhagen Theatre Circle
Ben in The Tiger by Murray Schisgal

Best Actress Kathleen Schoers, Bonn Players
Woman in The Open Couple by Dario Fo

The Grand Duchy Award The American Theatre Company, Brussels
for Best Stage Presentation The Unseen Hand by Sam Shepard

The Marcel Huhn-Bruno Boeye Award New World Theatre Company, Luxembourg
for Stage Management Philip and Rowena by Gillian Plowman

Best Supporting Actor Jason Couch, The Hamburg Players
Christopher in Secrets by Giles Cole

Best Supporting Actress jointly to Christine Upward & Katharina Froemming,
Stage Hands in Bonn PlayersThe Open Couple




A Review of FEATS’98

Notes from a high bar stool -

The highlight of European amateur theatre is over again for another year. For four nights during Whit weekend, participants from all over Europe were treated to a wide diversity of theatrical presentations, followed each evening by critiques and practical pointers from Mr Russell Whiteley, GODA.



FEATS FORUM
During FEATS’98, in addition to the often extended discussions at the bar, two more formal Forums took place where technical and general matters related to the festival were discussed. There was a good turn out this year and two topics in particular generated an interesting and lively debate.

The UK National Drama Festival Association (NDFA, to which FEATS is affiliated) has increased the maximum allowed running time for One Act play festivals to 55 minutes. The FEATS rules however still limit the running time to 45 minutes. This year, five plays presented at the festival exceeded that limit, as a result of which, penalty points had to be deducted from two plays and a third was regrettably disqualified from the major awards. The argument in favour of increasing the time limit, which was expressed forcibly by many of the directors present, is that extending the limit would allow more scope in the selection of modern plays - many playwrights now write one act plays within the 55 minute limitation. The counter argument is that the evening is already long enough (generally running, including the adjudication, from 7:30 to 11:30). It was also noted that the choice of good plays does not seem to be unduly restricted - this year, 11 out of 12 plays were presented at FEATS for the first time. Many UK drama festivals are now only able to put on two plays, at least on the final night. Various possibilities for extending the time limit without affecting the overall length of the evening were discussed, for instance by reducing the time of the intervals and by imposing better "audience control". On a final show of hands however, the overwhelming majority of those present voted in favour of retaining the status-quo.

On the subject of Stage Presentation, John Brigg from Luxembourg presented a proposal that FEATS should sometimes move away from the traditional proscenium arch production and consider alternative forms of theatre. In Luxembourg, a possible venue for FEATS2000 would provide the opportunity for staging Theatre-in-the-Round and John asked "What do people think about this ?" There was considerable support for the idea - in fact, I don’t think there was one discenting voice ! The enthusiastic view was that Theatre in the Round would provide a very real and welcome challenge for the FEATS community, who have perhaps become too used to performing on large, well equiped, traditional proscenium arch stages. It might also provide an interesting challenge for the adjudicator - would he/she have to move around the auditorium during the production ?! We would certainly need to avoid any risk of presenting a "uni-directional Theatre-in-the-Round", presented towards the adjudicators chair. Setting and striking might also have to be carried out in public, which could create new theatrical openings for the more extrovert members of the back-stage crews !

It was agreed that any decision on these matters would affect the entire FEATS community and, although many groups were represented at the Forum, the views of all FEATS groups would need to be obtained. If you have any views on these or any other topic related to FEATS, please write to me and I will ensure your views are passed on to the Steering Committee and, space permitting, are printed in future editions of the Newsletter.

Tony Broscomb

 



Metamorphosis



FEATS ’99, hosted by THE GENEVA ENGLISH DRAMA SOCIETY,
21 - 24 May 1999, at the Forum Theatre, Meyrin, Geneva
For the first time, FEATS is moving to Switzerland. FEATS’99 will be hosted by The Geneva English Drama Society (GEDS) and will take place at Forum Theatre in Meyrin, just outside Geneva from 21 - 24 May 1999.

For more information, please contact any member of the FEATS’99 Organising Committe at: FEATS’99, Case Postale 117, CH-1211 Geneva 12, Switzerland.

 


  • GEDS first participated in FEATS in 1980 in Luxembourg. We have been regular participants ever since, either with or without a show or a Fringe piece. We’re reasonably experienced in organising things: many of us, like many of you, run multinational projects or governmental organisations in the time we can spare from the theatre.

     

  • We can promise you a good time: Geneva is fun, a comfortable size, easily accessible (our theatre and hotel are ten minutes from the airport, the main railway station, the Swiss motorway, downtown Geneva). Best of all, current plans ensure that your hotel, theatre, Fringe activities, Saturday night party and a shopping centre are all within 400 metres of each other ! But there are plenty of other activities so that you won’t get claustrophobia.

     

  • Many of us drive regularly to FEATS "there" so Luxembourg, for instance is merely six hours drive from the "FEATS you cannot afford to miss". And speaking of cannot afford, believe us when we say that Geneva costs are greatly over-estimated; in reality, they compare very closely with your other European cities. We’ll let you have hotel rates etc. a bit later.

     


Reasons for visiting Geneva at Whitsun 1999

Lake Leman, the largest lake in Western Europe, and the Rhone: the 150-metre Jet d’Eau, pleasure steamers, quays and promenades along the waters edge.
Beautiful parks and gardens
Shopping: Swiss souvenirs, watches and jewellery, department stores all within walking distance of each other
Thirty museums - including Art & History, Watch-making, History of Science, Ethnography, Natural History, Modern and Contemporary Art, the Red Cross (Geneva is the birthplace of the Red Cross) and many other cultural exhibitions.
The Old Town: magnificent buildings, cobbled streets, antique shops, art galleries and bistros, with a cathedral famous as a place of refuge for Protestants in the 16/17th centuries.
The countryside: the banks of the Rhone, hills and valleys, woods and vineyards, stately houses and rustic farms.

 



FEATS Steering Committee



Selection Procedure for FEATS
Sadly, due to the closure next year of the RAF base at Laarbruch, Welton Theatre Club has probably been seen at FEATS for the last time. As a result, the number of groups that are known to be interested in FEATS has been reduced to 24. Each year, 12 groups have to be selected to take part in the next Festival. Immediately after the festival, ALL groups are contacted by next year’s host (GEDS for FEATS’99) and asked whether or not they would like to be included in the selection. Selection is then made in September based on a table in which all the groups have been divided into 3 lists - groups that perform are moved to the bottom of their respective list and the top 4 from each list who have confirmed their wish to take part are then invited to compete the following year.
After FEATS ’98, the updated lists are as follows:
List A List B List C
ESOC, Darmstadt GEDS, Geneva BATS, Antwerp
Stockholm Players Semi-Circle, Basel Little Theatre, Geneva
Village Players, Lutry Theatre de Waanzin, Ghent AATG, The Hague
MOSACT, Maastricht LEST, Leiden Tagora, Strasbourg
Hamburg Players ESTEC, Noordwijk Copenhagen Theatre Circle
Bonn Players ECC, Brussels CATS Rheindalen
Round Tower, Luxembourg Irish Theatre Group, Brussels In Players, Amsterdam
NWTC, Luxembourg FEST, Frankfurt ATC, Brussels
This process is intended to allow groups to plan their participation in FEATS more effectively. For example, a group that is high on the list can decide not to take part one year knowing that that they will remain at the top of the list for selection the following year. If you would like to know more about the Selection Procedure, please contact me or a member of the Steering Committee.




Getting Around to it in 2000
  • When the regular road is ripped up for repairs, alternative routes begin to be investigated. The Municipal Theatre in Luxembourg City will be closed for renovation in 2000, so what alternatives can be found? Only a limited number of possibilities, including the open air, a tent, a concert hall, a school auditorium; but also 2 viable options: the fully equipped and delightful Municipal Theatre of Luxembourg’s second city, Esch-sur-Alzette: or the promise of a flexible space in the new Kultur Fabrik, also in Esch, and currently taking shape.

     

  • Flexible = no curtain = a large empty space waiting to be filled in a creative and exciting way. One of the those ways is theatre in the round, or possibly on three sides. It may seem daunting if you’ve never seen such a production, and even more frightening if you’ve never acted or directed in this way, but it is quite extraordinarily liberating. Actors and audiences love it as contact is immediate and direct. A leap is required though, a soaring bound through the proscenium arch from the seeming safety of the ‘traditional’ stage into an exhilarating auditorium.

     

  • Theatre-in-the-round means looking at a play in a completely different way, getting straight to the guts and stuff without the distraction of the picture frame. And most surprisingly, almost every play can be done in the round. The limitation stimulates invention.

     

  • We would love to offer this opportunity for FEATS in 2000, but we are aware of the difficulties involved. Firstly staging the festival at a new venue (as yet unfinished and thus possibly finally unsuitable), and then for those participants who have never attempted something like this before. The idea has been mooted to organise theatre-in-the-round workshops for interested groups, both from a directing and acting as well as a technical point of view. The decision to round or not must be taken this autumn, but we need your input (and for our part a thorough investigation of the venue) to enable this decision. Please contact us to ask any questions or to let us know your thoughts on the matter. Silence will be assumed to indicate enthusiastic approval.

     


    Tel. Fax e-mail John Brigg (Stage manager) [removed]
    Ann Overstall (Steering comm.rep.) Tel: 339 671, Fax: 331 934
    Cliodhna Demsey (Chair) [removed]




FEATS on the INTERNET



Shakespeare’s Globe Globe
Did you know that GEDS has sponsored an engraved flag stone which has been laid in the piazza of the New Globe Theatre ? It is fun walking round the piazza trying to find it - but if you give up, ask for directions to Row No. 108.
If you would like to support the Globe Theatre project and receive the
Globe Theatre magazine and other benefits, contact:
Keith Elliott, Membership Secretary, Friends of Shakespeare’s Globe,
P.O. Box 70, London SE1 9EN
Information about the Globe can be found at their website,
http://www.rdg.ac.uk/globe/


MUNSBACH SUMMER SCHOOL 1997 Tenth Anniversary
Summer Theatre School
The New World Theatre Club is pleased to announce that it will again be hosting a residential summer theatre school at the Chateau de Munsbach near Luxembourg City, from Saturday 2 August to Sunday 10 August 1997. This year the course will again be under the direction of Michael McCormack, assisted by Helen Ireland, Greame Du Fresne and Lyle Wood.
There are a limited number of places still available, so anyone interested is urged to contact John or Chris as soon as possible. Fees: day student: BEF 16,000; residential student: BEF 22,000.
Chris Bearne, 4 Montee d’Oetrange,
OETRANGE, L-5351 Luxembourg.
tel: +352-358977 (h), +352-4379-3328 (o),
fax: +352-4379-3362,
e-mail: bearne@eib.org
John Brigg,
1 Rue T. Eberhard,
L-1451 Luxembourg.
tel: +352-446680 (h), +352-456790 (o)



From the Editor .....

..... Tony Broscomb

Information for the Newsletter should be sent to:
Tony Broscomb,
Bramleys, Main Street,
Shudy Camps, Cambridge CB1 6RA, UK.
tel: +44-1799-584920; fax: +44-1799-584921;
email: TonyBroscomb@compuserve.com

 


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