LOCAL talent triumphed in the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre's annual awards ceremony. More than 200 guests were at Leeds West Academy, where Ilkley performing arts school Upstagers won Best Pantomime and Best Stage Presentation for Aladdin. Musical Director Phil Walsh was joint winner of Best Musical Director with Will Rowson of Yeadon Charities Association for Puss in Boots. Upstagers also won Best Principal Boy (Alycia Booth), Best Pantomime Villain (George Scaife), and the John Howell Memorial trophy for Best Dame (Elliot Broadfoot). Lauren Varley was Best Actress for Burley Theatre Group’s Wizard of Oz. The new Bernard Riley cup for Best Young Performer in an adult production went to Katy Chalmers of STARS, narrator of community panto Robin Hood. One of the Festival’s aims is to encourage young people in theatre, and Certificates of Outstanding Performance and Certificates of Merit went to youngsters including Toby Womack and Katie South for Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society's production of Les Miserables, and Barnaby Killan who took the role of Gavroche at short notice. Musical Director Mike Gilroy won Best Musical Director (Youth & Schools). Stage 84 won Best Musical (Youth & Schools) for Sister Act, as well as Best Director, Stage Presentation, Choreography and the Cyril Spencer trophy for Best Musical. Sally Edwards, director of Bingley Arts Centre’s junior company Kaleidoscope, and musical director Katy Gaul received a Special Chairman’s award for adapting novels for the stage.

The Pantomimes (Adults), Best Choreographer went to Christine Braid of Yeadon Charities Association, which also won the Peter Russell trophy for Technical Excellence for Nine to Five. Best Choreographer was Amy Horton Atkinson of Guiseley AOS for Legally Blonde. Fulneck Dramatic Society won the William Whiteley Salver for Best Play, Stage Presentation and Supporting Actor, Actress and Director with thriller, Rope. Jan Thomas won Best Actress for Ilkley Playhouse's The Visitors and Andrew Howorth of Drama Unlimited won Best Actor for Talking Heads. The Pat Dyson Spirit of Theatre went to Douglas Brennan who has built sets for many Fulneck Dramatic Society productions.

* Visit wharfedaletheatrefest.org.uk