The Arran Drama Festival 2021

A report by Alice Maxwell

The Arran Drama Festival went ahead this weekend, with seven Radio Plays, which were performed on Arran Sound – on 26th and 27th February. This was a non-competitive event and if you missed the fun and talent provided by our Arran actors, the plays will be available on the Radio Station catch up facility for another week

The festival began with Sleuth School – a play written by Arran’s very own Andy McNamara (his third play to be performed by the Whiting Bay Drama to date). Five of the world’s most famous detectives meet for a “private detective revalidation course”. These are Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie’s Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple, Velma from Scooby Do, and Ann Barnard of The Famous Five. The course is run by a rather suspicious character who calls himself Mr James. He sets the detectives a mystery to solve and if they fail they will never be able to work again. The detectives outwit Mr James, and not only do they solve the mystery, but they reveal him to be Holmes’ nemesis – Professor James Moriaty.

Forever on Hold by D M Larson, was performed by Sheila Gilmore on behalf of the Shiskine Drama Club. This describes the frustration of being put on hold by call centres – listening to endless nonsense about websites and how many minutes you have left to wait, and being faced with a “maize of number options”. At last, you get through to a human being, only to find it’s the wrong department and you have to start all over again. Yes, we have all been there!

Around the fridge in 80 calories by Cheryl Barret, was performed by Jerry Arthur for Shiskine Drama Group. An unfortunate dieter is trying her best to lose weight with the help of a slimming expert, Gloria. Unfortunately, the dieter has neither the will power or inclination to follow Gloria’s instructions, and by the end she decides that “fattys have more fun”, and a “balanced diet” means a piece of chocolate cake in one hand, and a glass of wine in the other.

Party Time by Eileen Brandon was performed by Shiskine SWI drama group. An assortment of ladies attempt to arrange a party for the Grandad’s Club. One lady has a dreadful cold, one is tipsy, and a third is dreadfully bossy, so of course chaos ensues as the assembly argue and stray off the point.

String Road Romance was written and performed by another Arran local, Elizabeth Ross of Shiskine SWI drama group. Elizabeth is a talented humorous poet – and describes a love affair between two youngsters, who rely on the 322 bus travelling over the String for their secret rendezvous. When the North Ayrshire Council closes the road, their relationship takes a turn for the worst.

The Helpline was written by Chris, Jan and Graeme Atkins, with some added input by Andy McNamara and Cathy Welsh and was performed by Whiting Bay Drama. Two Covid helpline counsellors are besieged with weird and wonderful phone calls.

Cinderella and the Wellington was written and performed by Alice Maxwell, (Whiting Bay Drama) – a very short humorous monologue with a sporting Birmingham accent.

Sheila Gilmore performing in the 2020 festival


A picture of the Shiskine SWRI drama group from the 2012 Arran Drama Festival