Southampton theatre group wins All England Theatre Festival quarter finals

Southampton’s SUP Theatre Company won Best Play at the Southern Region of the 2018 All England Theatre Festival (AETF) in Weymouth on Saturday 7th April with Bully Beef and the Whizzbangs, written and directed by Chris Hawley. SUP co chair Stephen Fenerty was also nominated as Best Actor for his role as Harry.

This is the first time in 53 years that SUP, formed as Southampton University Players in 1965, has progressed to the semi-finals of this prestigious national competition. The next round – the Western Region finals – takes place in Dawlish, Devon on Saturday 5th May.

‘We are thrilled and delighted this brilliant production and cast have again been acknowledged,’ says Alison Wells, co chair of SUP Theatre Company. ‘Who knows what will happen in the semi finals, but we’ll all keep our fingers crossed. We would, of course, love to represent Southampton in the All England finals in June.’

Bully Beef and the Whizzbangs, a darkly comic World War I tale set in the trenches of France, was written by SUP member Chris Hawley to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Armistice. The one-act play – which features authentic costumes, props and a 12-foot section of trench – received its World Premiere at the 40th Totton Festival of Drama last month, where it won Best Play, Best Actor, Best Original Script and the Technical Achievement award.

The 50-minute play is set to be presented in a charity fundraising performance at Enham Alamein village (Saturday 21st April), at Royal Victoria Country Park in Southampton (Monday 7th May) and in a double bill with another SUP one-act play at Eastleigh’s Rose Theatre (Saturday 12th May).