Not enough drama in your life? Well it’s all kicking off at Oxted’s Barn Theatre this February

Canary Cage - photo by Timothy Cooke

Canary Cage - photo by Timothy Cooke - Credit: Archant

Long time Surrey Life favourite, BBC newsreader Nicholas Owen, has been announced as the new patron of the Southern Counties Drama Festival.

Nicholas Owen - photo by Andy Newbold

Nicholas Owen - photo by Andy Newbold - Credit: Photo by www.andynewboldphotogra

The event forms part of the All-England Theatre Festival, which dates back to 1919 and is the only national competitive one act drama festival in the UK.

David Copperfield

David Copperfield - Credit: Archant

Previously known as The Betchworth Festival, it has been an important part of local amateur dramatics in Surrey and Kent for over 60 years.

From Monday February 24 to Saturday March 1, 15 groups – both young and old – will perform an eclectic mix of comedy, tragedy and drama at the Barn Theatre in Oxted, in the hope of progressing to the national finals.

• Book your tickets by calling 01959 561811 or ordering online from


Dates for your diary:

Monday February 24, 7.30pm

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Café Society by Ayshe Raif

Performed by Bletchingley Players

Synopsis: Set in the early 1980s and taking place in a run-down East End café that is due to close because of lack of business, three old friends who have known each other all their lives and meet regularly in the café reminisce on old times and ponder the future turmoil.

David Copperfield (Part 1) by Charles Dickens

Performed by Burnt Ash Drama Association

Synopsis: Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield in two books and this one-act play is an attempt to bring you the flavour of his character creations in the first of those books.

Tuesday February 25, 7.30pm

Steam Radio by Peter Higginbotham

Performed by Alternate Shadows

Synopsis: Steam Radio follows an ill-assorted group of actors rehearsing and then performing a live radio version of Shortish Encounter, which is an affectionate Noel Coward parody.

Don’t Blame it on the Boots by N J Warburton

Performed by Merstham ADS

Synopsis: No-one would have blamed it on the boots if only Kate had produced Macbeth instead of Hamlet, or Ophelia hadn’t been so attractive and naïve, or Eric had smaller feet and wasn’t the drama group’s prize flirt, or Liz’s father hadn’t been an actor who once trod the boards at Stratford in those self-same boots…

Canary Cage by Diana Raffle

Performed by Alternate Shadows

Synopsis: The Canary Cage is the chilling story of three women locked in a cellar. One of the women is psychotic. The consequences will be deadly!

Wednesday February 26, 7.30pm

Writes & Wrongs by Andy Taylor

Performed by TTAC Oast Theatre

Synopsis: Writes & Wrongs is a comedy about a writers circle. The members of this circle dream of having their work published or performed and, even though this play is meant to make you laugh, the consequences certainly make you think.

Satin Doll by Tony Earnshaw

Performed by Mole Valley Scriptwriters Group

Synopsis: It’s 1980 and Ken has invited his old flame Renie to see the jazz themed coffee bar he’s intending to open. It’s been twenty years since they spent any real time together. Twenty years of career, children, failed marriages. Is the old chemistry still there?

The Whores Tale by Archie Wilson

Performed by The Oxted Players

Synopsis: Gerald pays a call to Mandy, a prostitute, asking for her to play a special game. However, we quickly find out that neither Mandy nor Gerald are who they seem to be.

Thursday February 27, 7pm

Talking with Angels by Neil Duffield

Performed by Glow Theatre Group

Synopsis: What becomes apparent when you start to read about Joan of Arc is that the real Joan – the teenager who first heard voices in the fields of Domremy – has been irretrievably lost, buried in the legend that grew up around her.

Chat Room by Enda Walsh

Performed by Heathfield Drama Club

Synopsis: The six teenagers in Chatroom never meet each other, they just communicate via the internet; conversations range in subject from Britney Spears to Willy Wonka to suicide…

Friday February 28, 7pm

The Whole Truth by Ray Jenkins

Performed by Heathfield Drama Club

Synopsis: Mr Bryant the English/Drama teacher has left his class of 11/12 yr olds in the Drama Studio at their school to prepare an improvisation for when he returns. As they work out what they are going to do, things come to light that shock the class.

Small Fry by Neil Duffield

Performed by Glow Theatre Group

Synopsis: This play is a fantasy. The plot is simple and the characters animal-like. Yet the basis of this story – what can happen when personal greed and the ever present hunger for more takes over – remains the same.

Obsessed by Mike Newbold

Performed by Heathfield Drama Club

Synopsis: Mark takes Lynda, a new girl at his school under his wing. He believes that she has been placed in a children’s home as her mother is ill. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Saturday March 1, 7.30pm

Blood Brothers by Willy Russell

Performed by Glow Theatre Group

Synopsis: Blood Brothers takes as its starting point a traditional idea in literature – the separation of twins from infancy.

The Trial by Anthony Booth

Performed by Sevenoaks Players

Synopsis: Who has betrayed to the authorities the whereabouts of a hidden stock of ammunition?