Gala Night

After last year success, why not to do it again, so:

On Friday May 5th, after her critique of that night’s plays, the Adjudicator announces the two productions to be invited back for the Gala. These may include the overall winner of this year’s festival, or may have been chosen partly to give a balanced evening’s entertainment – but will in any event be productions which have impressed her. The performing rights for these productions will be reimbursed by the Henley Drama Festival, so will not cost the successful companies any extra.

On Saturday the first performance is at 7pm. It will be followed by the Adjudicator’s review of the week and general observations on standards; then she will award the Trophies. Everyone then comes for a drink and a chat to the Studio.

Admission: 2 ticket per each drama group is free. Standard ticket price is £5 (£3 for members of 2 performing groups).

And it is not all!. This year we will be honored with the special guest of The Gala night – Wendy Bowsher.

“I am deeply honoured to be asked to present the awards for the 46th Henley Drama Festival.

Especially this year, the 50th anniversary of the Kenton Theatre having been open for the longest consecutive period in it’s 212 year history and home to the Drama Festival.

It is heart warming to see so many entries in the festival from a variety of organisations including people from all walks of life. Promoting and encouraging public speaking and performing on stage is vitally important as a life lesson and keeping theatre alive.

My life at the Kenton Theatre started 35 years ago in the bitterly cold paint shop painting back clothes for Henley Operatic Society. Since then I have carried out many roles including organising props, being a stage hand and progressing to Stage Manager and teaching others. When I was not working backstage I was dancing on stage appearing in many musicals or serving behind the bar.

Fifteen years ago I started fundraising for the Kenton and as a team we successfully raised over £500,000 for projects including upgrading the stage lighting and winches, refurbished dressing rooms, new front of house cloakrooms, a new canopy, a new paintshop roof (much warmer now!) a refurbished foyer and purchasing the freehold.

In 2005 after I was heavily involved in organising the bi-centenary celebrations the Board of Trustees asked me if I would like to play a larger role in the running of the Theatre. Initially I turned the offer down because I wanted a break from work to start a family.

After much persuading I decided I could dovetail my knowledge of business with my love of the arts and accepted the role of Managing Director. During the twelve years I held this role I introduced a balanced programme of professional and amateur work, increased utilisation and usage of the Theatre and helped to keep the Kenton as a viable going concern for the community to enjoy. At times it was challenging but with the tremendous dedication of the volunteers who primarily run the Theatre together we continued to keep the Theatre open.

I am grateful to have been able to play my part in keeping the 4th oldest working theatre in the country running and wish the Drama Festival increasing patronage over the coming years and success as it provides the fantastic opportunity for people to learn, perform and give pleasure to others.”

2 – 6 May 2017, Henley on Thames