Information for parents and safeguarding advice
Derbyshire club celebrate success at Drama finals

Derbyshire club celebrate success at Drama finals

It was a double win for Buxton YFC at NFYFC’s Performing Arts finals, supported by KUHN, in April, when they clinched both the best overall Drama and the Best Male Actor awards.

It has been 17 years since the club won the national Drama final – and the winning play had been waiting in the wings since 2020 when the competition was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Former Buxton YFC member Peter Slack wrote "The Occupant," an original play focused on the lives of five cohabiting students, interwoven with a love story.

Peter, who has been writing plays for the competition for 25 years, said he had developed the script by focusing on the YFC scoring system, as he was determined to win.

“I looked at the marks and just tried to tick all the boxes to win the national Drama final,” said Peter. “I wanted to write something with good, deep characters, a bit of humour, a bit of drama and something they could get their teeth into when they’re acting.

“We’ve only won twice in 25 years so we’ve not got a good average really. It’s been a long wait.”

Buxton – scene from play 2024

Best Male Actor

Leading actor Thomas Broadley’s portrayal of his character Ben – a reluctant student who falls for his officious housemate – earned him a second consecutive Best Male Actor award.

Thomas, who based his character on his brother, who is also called Ben, said he was surprised to be the winner.

“I didn’t expect to win because some of the performances we’ve seen have been really good. When they read out the nominations for Best Male Actor, I thought oh they’ll get it and then they read out the next one, and I thought oh no, they’ll get it…”

Thomas wasn’t able to attend all the rehearsals due to being at university but he kept in touch with the club.

“We would rehearse in a shed in the middle of nowhere. Then I’d go back to university and I’d just get reports on how rehearsals were going. Then I’d come back for a few days and head back to the shed. It was fun to Interact with all the different characters. It was just a really fun play to do.”

Buxton - leading actors

Leading female actor

Amy Brittain Cartlidge, who played Fay in the production, was shortlisted for the Best Female Actor. Amy said the show had united all ages involved in the club, with the cast made up of members aged from 13 year olds up to 28.

“I think it brings everyone together because we try to have a range of different ages. It helps to bring the younger ones in, who are sometimes a bit more shy. It gives them a small step into what they can do in the future. They’re the ones who will be running the club in the future so it’s nice to bring the older ones and the younger ones together.

“It also brings people like Peter, who used to be in YFC, back in and it’s a nice atmosphere.”

Amy was pipped to the Best Female Actor post by Annie East from Eardisley YFC in Herefordshire for her portrayal of theatre director Lorelei in the club’s performance of Lavender and Lunatics.

In the summary before the announcement of the winners, the judges praised Buxton’s overall performance.

Judges' review

GODA adjudicator Robert Meadows told the club:

“You understood how comedy in the classic sense has to be taken seriously for it to work. You made this come across in a memorable way.”

While the club’s determination to win yielded the right result, Peter advised other clubs to ensure they have fun taking part.

“Do something you enjoy because you don’t want to do something you find a pain and then you’re not successful, which is really tough.

“So if you do something you really enjoy and have a good laugh in rehearsals then at least you’ve got that. And that’s all we’ve had for a number of years!”

Builth Wells YFC came second in the competition with their play called The 39 Steps, Abridged. Joint third place was won by Eardisley YFC’s Lavender and Lunatics and Gelligaer YFC with Game of Tiaras. See more results.

NFYFC’s Performing Arts competition is held annually and rotates between pantomime, entertainments and drama. More than 5,000 members across England and Wales take part in the competition at club and county level.