Category Archives: YAoM

The Drama of Mann- A Word from our One Act Play Festival Adjudicator

The Drama of Mann

I cannot express how delighted I was to be approached to come to the island to adjudicate the One Act Festival and Young Actor of Mann. It was a new one to me, and I had not managed a visit to the island since sailing into Doolish harbour at midnight aboard our Sea Cadet Training Ship. We sailed out at about two the following afternoon, so my whole previous experience of the island was fourteen hours in Douglas, at least eight of which were spent asleep.

This time however more than made up for it. The whole of the community of the island has been so welcoming that one could easily be mistaken for an old friend returning to the island rather than a stranger. The welcome aside, the scenery and atmosphere of the island is magical, as many have remarked before, going back thousands of years. And the food! I am only too glad that the airlines don’t charge for that particular type of excess baggage one carries back around one’s waist!

As for the festivals themselves, what a treat to be able to observe and adjudicate them. The One Act Festival brought laughter and tears, often in the same production. I saw performers who ranged from fifteen to eighty-five and all stops in-between, and each and every one of them had something unique and valuable to contribute. The styles ranged from the stylised to naturalistic and touched on themes from an unexpected change late in life to Faustian pacts with the cult of celebrity and even a Roald Dahl-esque twist in the tail.

Then there was the Young Actor of Mann. All anyone will tell you about this competition is that it is a nigh on impossible job to judge as all the young actors are so talented, and they certainly wouldn’t like to do it.  As adjudicators we hear this often, but never before have I seen it so justified as here.  It is inspiring to see these young actors and actresses willing to get up and present themselves for their talent to be judged. In Wales we have the Eisteddfod culture, we encourage all our young people to get up and compete in these competitions of singing, recitation etc. It makes the experience normal. But I know only too well it doesn’t make it any easier. So to see these youngsters willing to step outside their comfort zone and do it without that cultural norm, well… I feel the dramatic future of the island will be in safe hands. And I can confirm that it is a nigh on impossible job as all the young actors are so talented and cannot wait to do it again!

Gura mie eu

Chris Baglin


Young Actor of Mann Finals 2017

The Young Actor of Mann Finals were held on Wednesday 19th April, an annual competition open to Isle of Man residents aged between 13 and 19 years. It is a brilliant chance for young actors on the island to showcase their talent.

The first round took place in February, judged by adjudicator Jennifer Scott-Reid. Here arose a great challenge for the adjudicator because of the immense talent in the competition this year as Scott-Reid wished to take eleven contestants through to the final, but was only allowed eight.

These eight finalists were as followed:

  • Saoirse Coyle Carroll
  • Andrew Halstein
  • Robyn-Mae Lawler
  • Joseph Long
  • Faye Pendlebury
  • Laeth Quellin
  • Alexandra Slater
  • Jack Smollen

The eight finalists performed at the Studio Theatre, Ballakermeen High school and were judged by adjudicator Robert Meadows who has also been adjudicating for the 2017 Easter Festival of Full Length plays. They were required to perform two contrasting pieces from published plays and musical theatre. In the final they must perform one piece from the adjudicator’s set texts and one of their pieces from the first round. There was a great mix of songs and play extracts which were all executed to a high standard. Pieces included songs from Stephen Sondheim’s musical ‘Into the Woods’ and monologues from Ella Hickson’s play ‘Eight’, this year’s set texts from the adjudicator. Meadows chose Hickson’s ‘Eight’ because “the characters she created are very contemporary which seemed appropriate” and he chose Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’ because Sondheim’s “lyrics and melodies do pose a challenge for musical theatre practitioners but always engage me [Meadows] when I hear his work performed successfully as was the case in the final.”

Meadows had the following to say about finals before he makes his final decision: “I was very impressed with the standard of work from all eight finalists. Making the decision as to who will win incredibly difficult.”

There is an extremely active and social drama world on the island and we are surrounded with many very talented young performers. The Isle of Man is thriving with triple threats, those who can act, sing and dance, and there was no exception in this year’s Young Actor of Mann competition. We are almost spoilt with the productions we have the pleasure to watch. The outstanding amateur shows performed at the Gaiety are alike to professional productions and the junior productions are also on par further highlighting the true, extraordinary talent we have on the Isle of Man.

Competitions, such as the Young Actor of Mann, can help young people to build their confidence and self-esteem, allow them to learn new things and perhaps to learn how to push out of their comfort zone. Ultimately, these competitions are important as they give young performers the chance to showcase their talent.

The winner’s prize is a bursary of the value of £500 to be used for fees towards attending a UK summer school/holiday workshop at a drama school of the winner’s choice. The winner of the Young Actor of Mann 2017 will be announced at the awards ceremony on Friday 21st April, at the Gaiety Theatre.

  • Megan Rossiter, MADF Roving Reporter

The winner of the Young Actor of Mann 2017 was Alexandra Slater and the runner up was Joseph Long. We interviewed Alexandra following her win –

Meet MADF’s Official Roving Reviewer!

This year we searched for our first young reviewer of the Easter Festival and the Young Actor of Mann Final and were so pleased when Megan Rossiter applied.

Megan is in Year 13 at Ballakermeen High School, attended Stage One Drama School and most recently performed in the One Act Festival this February.

She absolutely loves drama and believes that the opportunity to review for MADF would help her with her English Literature A-level, as well as further her knowledge in plays and the theatre world.

We welcome her to the MADF team and eagerly look forward to her nightly reviews!

  • Vanessa Williams, Online and Social Media Admin


A Final Few Words from the One Act Play Adjudicator

Robert MeadowsIt was an absolute delight to return to the Isle of Man as the adjudicator for the 2016 One Act Play Festival this February. 

The event takes place in a first class setting, the Erin Arts Centre; the town is blessed to have such an excellent facility. What also impressed me was the enthusiasm of the groups, youth and adult, to bring to the stage a range of challenging and entertaining plays. There were five youth entries involving over thirty, talented young people. All those young performers were totally committed to their roles and fully understood how to bring to stage life complex ideas and sensitive issues. They used a range of performance styles and it was clear that the directors involved in shaping the work had brought the best out of those young performers from St Ninian’s School, Broadway Theatre Company, Stage One Drama and the Youth Arts Centre.  Sometimes young actors are not given sufficiently engaging material to work with; that is certainly not true of the Isle of Man.  I was able to see the width of the talent pool when judging the first round of The Young Actor of Man; trying to achieve the almost impossible in selecting eight finalists from a crop of 21 very fine performers.

The adult drama scene is also thriving. What a range of plays! Spoofs of ‘Strictly’, original dramas drawing on stories about the coming of Christianity, tales of injustice and broken hearts as well as reminiscences on age, the horror of war and the pain of separation: the full gamut was presented by talented directors, designers and actors.

It was also good to see full houses supporting the work of the local groups; all absorbed and engaged, keen to share their own views and opinions on what they had watched on the stage. I very much enjoyed sharing my thoughts about the productions with the audiences throughout the week.

Finally, it was a friendly festival. There was tremendous kindness and hospitality extended by all involved in running the event so efficiently. I very much enjoyed my visit. 

  • Robert Meadows, GoDA

YAoM Tony Eccles tells us about his life as an Actor…

YAoM Tony EcclesWell it’s fair to say a lot has happened since winning the YAOM in 2005! I went on the prize summer school week which was a great experience, it also became a bit of a trial run for living away from home as a few months later I moved to Chester to enrol at the Hammond School of Performing Arts for three years.
Since graduating I move back to the Island for six months or so, taking some time out due to a family bereavement, but moved back to Chester and then six months later moved to London.
I took some time finding my feet there, not really knowing anyone, but eventually got myself an agent and started to work professionally. I then got accepted to the two year MA Screen Acting course at the Drama Centre London, which was an incredible experience. I graduated last July, got a better agent and have been doing bits and bobs ever since. My graduating short film when to Cannes, and I have just been touring with a play adapted by Nick Dear called The Promisewhich went to London, Manchester and Essex.
I finished the tour last month and was unemployed again but am now rehearsing for ‘A Christmas Carol’ which will be performed at the Dickens Museum, London during December 2015. (ah the life of an actor!).
– Tony Eccles
You can follow Tony’s career on IMDb or Spotlight – Ed

YAoM Winner reviews her Thrift Theatre Camp experience

Natasha TorinWinning YAoM gave me the chance to attend the Thrift Music & Theatre Camp where I spent a week with 15 students in Ufton Court, and participated in a range of intensive workshops, exploring  Performance and Media. I could not have wished for a better week and I am very grateful to Young Actor of Mann for such an enriching opportunity.
I now work as Associate Producer for Newscope Films working in Production and Development.
  • Natasha Torin, Young Actor of Mann 2008