Pond Life – PVADYS festival play 2017


Woolstore Theatre Reviews http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/15197662.Amateur_casts_shine_in_one_act_play_festival/

HJ17 Results

Special Seventieth Anniversary Festival – all the winners and nominees

Young actors make a splash at drama festival

Written by Peter Davison on .

The cast of Pond LifeThe cast of Pond LifeA group of young actors from Pewsey have made a real splash at a drama festival – topping three out of five award categories, and winning every prize for which they were eligible.

At the Woolstore Theatre’s One Act Play Festival in Codford on Friday, Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatic Society saw off four rivals to come home with the Adjudicator’s Award for outstanding teamwork, drama, and technical achievement.

There was also a plaudit for writer and director Nettie Baskcomb Brown, who won Best Original Script, and a trophy for Milo Davison, named Best Young Actor at the festival.

Pond Life – inspired by a real-life pond created by Nettie – tells the story of some water plants, who are joined in their new home by creatures including snails, dragonflies, and bees.

When naughty Newton the newt brings a swarm of water boatmen – including the destructive and carnivorous backswimmers – the occupants call on trigger-happy Frog to save the day.

While on the surface Pond Life is a play about the environment, and the balance of delicate eco systems, but there’s an analogical undercurrent about refugees and immigration – why people leave their homes to live somewhere else, and how host societies adapt to integrate new people and ideas.

The 40-minute play was written specially for a cast of 10 to 13 year olds. Nettie Baskcomb Brown told the audience of a preview show at Pewsey’s Bouverie Hall last week that many plays written for young people are ‘issues-based’ and unsuitable for younger actors and audiences.

The next public airing of Pond Life will be at 70th Harold Jolliffe One Act Play Festival at The Memorial Hall, Royal Wootton Bassett on Saturday.

Woolstore Theatre Codford One Act Play Festival 24.3.17 – RESULTS

Another great performance from the cast of POND Life at the Woolstore Theatre, Codford.
PVADS Youth Theatre came away with a total of three awards and lots of praise from an appreciative audience!!
We won the Adjudicator’s award for outstanding teamwork, drama and technical achievement.
Milo Davison won Best Youth Actor award
and Nettie Baskcomb Brown won Best Original Script!
Adjudicator Sonia Wooley high praised all the actors for their convincing performances and creation of distinct characters for each of the plants and amphibians.

Comments from cast, parents and audience members:-

“Nettie. Well done you and your dedicated team!  Pond Life is brilliant play with a wonderful cast.  They were so enthralling on stage in their colourful costumes. Your script really hit the mark.  What an absolute genius way of getting the children to think about real life issues and also other ecosystems.    Great sound effects and effective lighting.  Well done to Rob and his team. Its amazing how far everyone’s acting has progressed in such a short space of time.  Their confidence is growing all the time – thank you   Piers was on such a high after the play, enjoying the natural endorphins after such hard work.  He’s also having to learn how to overcome being nervous before going on stage.  I note he doesn’t wear his glasses so maybe it helps that he can’t see past the first row!” 


POND LIFE is PVADYS entry into this year’s festival competitions.

The concept for POND LIFE came from the author’s conversion of a derelict swimming pool into a natural pond. At first it was just a few plants – donated, harvested and planted randomly on the steps of the pool – but then suddenly WHAM there were snails, and pond skaters, damsel flies, birds, frog spawn, bees – you name it – they came. It was magical! After a few weeks a strange phenomenon occurred – something that looked like a giant bubble appeared underwater – it was millions of baby water-boatmen.

What happened next???  You’ll have to come and watch the play!!

The youngsters will perform Pond Life on home ground, at the Bouverie Hall, on Wednesday 22nd March, also at the Woolstore Theatre, Codford on Friday 24th March and in the Harold Joliffe One Act Play Festival at Wootton Bassett Memorial Hall on Saturday 1st April.

This is a free entry show – but we will be asking for donations!


Well – we are striving to keep our very strong, totally inclusive, £8 per annum membership, youth theatre going – both to entertain our  community and for local youngsters to have the experience of acting on stage, learning different drama techniques and watching and competing against both youth and adult groups at national One Act Play festivals organised by the All England Theatre Festivals. We believe it is vitally important for youngsters to be involved with groups such as PVADYS. They gain enormous amounts of confidence, learn to express themselves, how to work as a team and more often than not meet new lifetime friends.  An added bonus is that they have lots of fun, both during rehearsals and public performances.

However new rules and regulations (Child performance act 2015) seem hell bent on making this a very legalised and restrictive discipline. Many amateur youth theatre groups are closing down nationwide because they cannot meet some of these regulations, mainly due to stipulations regarding the provision of ‘child only’ facilities at the venue (this includes church and village halls) and requirement for paid ‘licensed chaperones’ for, potentially, each child. We unfortunately are in this category. So, in order not to break any rules, we are offering FREE entry to PVADY’S performances for the foreseeable future.

Of course all these productions do cost money – e.g. hire of hall, costumes, entry fees to the festivals – in this instance over £400. We are committed to keeping the PVADS Youth Theatre running but would be grateful for your donations however small.

Tickets will be available for the cast and family members from the 6th March.

Public tickets on the door from 7pm on performance day.


Miranda Smith – Iris

Madison Crawshay Jones – Lily

George Page – Reed

Milly White – Minty

Eleanor Craddock – Marigold

Milo Davison – Snail 1

Piers Hamilton – Newton

Daniel Lancaster – Snail 2, Back-Swimmer

Ted Uther Golding – Frog, Back-swimmer

Poppy White – Bee, Damsel fly, Back-swimmer

Alishya Blake – Bee, Snail puppet, Back-swimmer

Josephine Woolley Maisch – Damsel Fly, Back-swimmer


Director – Nettie Baskcomb – Brown

Crew – Nettie Baskcomb – Brown, Rob Bottoms, James Keepence, Hayley Martin.

Rehearsal photos: Pond Life 5/2/17

Pond life rehearsal (7)

Pond life rehearsal (3)