LOCAL talent has been recognised in the musical theatre ‘Oscars’ - the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre.

This year’s festival attracted a record number of entries, including productions in school and village halls, little theatres and arts centres across the region.

Local winners included Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society?s Juniors for their double bill of The Jungle Book and Act One of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods. Amy Brown Carrera was given a Special Festival award for her skilled handling of the Kaa the Python puppet in The Jungle Book. Bingley Arts Centre’s junior section, Kaleidoscope, won the Malcolm Pinder trophy for Best Play (Youth and Schools) for Salem, about the 1692 witch trials, with the Best Actor prize going to Matthew Perkins and Best Actress to Lydia Aitken.

This year saw three new awards for Best Young Performers in an adult production, and Sophia Rose was awarded for her performance as Baby June in Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society's Gypsy, while Benny Hick won for his performance as Beans in Upstagers’ panto Jack and the Beanstalk. Emily Brook won Best Principal Girl, George Scaife won Best Pantomime Villain and Bethany Hare won Best Pantomime Fairy, while Best Musical Director went to Phil Walsh.

The cup for Best Pantomime went to Yeadon Charities Association for their version of Jack and the Beanstalk, with Christine Braid named Best Choreographer and Elaine Hardy and Luke Call Best Cameo.

“The future of all theatre, professional and amateur, lies with our young people, and the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre places great emphasis on their achievements," said a festival spokesman. "In these days of severe cuts to education budgets and reduced funding for the arts, thankfully many people still realise how much young people can gain by taking part in theatre, and make sure that opportunities to do this remain available to them.”

In the Drama (Adults) competition, Adel Players won the William Whiteley Salver for Best Play with their in-the-round production of Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass. Rob Colbeck won Best Actor and Dianne Newby Best Actress, with Best Stage Presentation for David Newby.

In second place was Fulneck Dramatic Society’s revival of No Sex, Please, We’re British, which saw Dave Robbins win the Dorothy Fenwick trophy for Best Director, while Best Supporting Actor went to Sam McKay. Best Supporting Actress went to Sandra Chewins for Keighley Playhouse’s Little Women.

The Telegraph & Argus trophy was awarded to Gravitas Entertainment for their touring production of Brassed Off. The Trevor Hallett trophy for Technical Excellence was awarded to Yeadon Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society for Stone Cold Murder.

Yeadon Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s Made In Dagenham won Best Musical, with Jordan Danielle Rhodes as Best Actress, Jonathan Spry Best Supporting Actor and Heather Coulton Best Supporting Actress. Tanglewood Arts Management won for Stage Management and Peyton Martin was Best Choreographer and Director.

The Keighley Playhouse trophy for Best Costumed Production went to Judith Huntley, Emma Stirk and Joy Suthern of Leeds Gilbert & Sullivan Society's Kiss Me Kate, while Guiseley Amateurs' The Wizard of Oz won Best Actor for Will Sadler. Best Cameo went to Keighley Amateurs' Mark Hutchinson for his portrayal of Teen Angel in Grease.

The Pat Dyson Spirit of Theatre award went to Vivienne Bate, a member of Adel Players for 64 years, and a Lifetime Achievement Award went to retiring Festival chairman Malcolm Pinder, who now becomes its first ever president.

* Entries for the 2017-2018 Wharfedale Festival of Theatre are now open. The competition is open to full-length plays and musicals performed between September 1 and May 1, 2018. Visit wharfedaletheatrefest.org.uk