A JUBILANT drama group is celebrating after winning a coveted award.

Octopus Drama Group from Thornbury was chosen as the winner of the Peter Wheeldon Memorial Trophy for a Company Crafted Production for the south west region in the 2023 NODA South West Awards.

The awards are hosted by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, a national body that represents amateur theatre.

The prize was given for Octopus Drama Group’s production of A Bunch of Amateurs, written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman.

The show, which was performed in June last year and directed by Abi McManus, tells the story of fading Hollywood star Jefferson Steele, who arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford but finds that he is performing in a sleepy West Country town instead.

The 2023 NODA South West Awards, which were for 2023 productions, were held in Plymouth on Saturday, May 18.

The trophy won by the group, which is now in its 53rd year, is given in recognition of societies which present totally handmade productions.

Commenting on why Octopus Drama Group was chosen as the winners of the trophy, a spokesperson for NODA said: “This small company always has to build its own stage and then design, build and paint its own sets while also creating costumes.

“For this production of A Bunch of Amateurs, it made great use of the 15th-century church hall, which lent lots of authentic atmosphere to the setting of the play in an old barn.

“It had kept some of the walls on view and built flats, which did not detract from the beauty of the building, but gave it a working set, with hinged units which unfolded for other locations.”

Abi is currently directing Octopus Drama Group’s upcoming play Birthday Club, which will be performed at Christ The King church hall in Thornbury from June 12 to 15.

The story sees five women get together for their birthdays, each with their own story, to drink, celebrate, commiserate and support each other as they negotiate through areas like marriage, work and kids.

When it’s revealed that one of the members of Birthday Club went out with another member’s husband, the vodka hits the fan.

Will Birthday Club survive, or will Rule Number Five end it forever?

Tickets cost £8 and can be purchased from Rosie & Rex in Thornbury High Street from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.