The Thames Valley Writers’ Circle’s annual competition for a one-act-play has been won by one of its newest members. Eight members in total put forward plays to be judged  by Arthur Burke of the  Progress Theatre, who gave each entrant a personal critique as well as giving general advice on presentation when making his judgements known.  

Arthur’s choice for first place was Hide and Seek, by Alanna Donaldson, a play about two young boys who were playing a game of hide and seek on their very first sleepover together. However, their play disturbed a ghost with disastrous consequences. Arthur’s view was that the boys’ dialogue was excellent and he could see it being very scary when enacted on stage. This was the first piece that Alanna had put forward for scrutiny, so she was doubly pleased.

Second place went to the Circle’s President, Barbara O Smith. Her play, Diagnosis featured the entertaining confrontation between an embittered and cantankerous professor of anaesthetics and a woman junior doctor training as an anaesthetist, who finally won the day. ‘What two great parts for actors,’ enthused Arthur.

In third place was Colin Ferguson, whose play last year went on to win a national award. Again, this year’s play, 10.20 to Chelmsford, was based on a personal experience. A man taking his usual morning commuter train to Chelmsford was approached by a woman traveller who asked if she could travel with him. She turned out to be a well known actress but his problem afterwards, was that no one would believe his story.

The Thames Valley Writers’ Circle is a non-tutor led group of writing enthusiasts, which meets every Tuesday at St Joseph’s Hall, Tilehurst from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. Full details can be found on their website: