Congratulations to Trinity Drama students Barney Sayburn and Rob Wilding who successfully performed their original play ‘Letters of Last Resort’ last Wednesday at the Barn Theatre, Oxted as part of the Southern Counties Drama Festival. 

The awards ceremony for the festival took place on Saturday night, with the team receiving not one, but two, nominations. Barney was nominated for Best Youth Actor and Rob and Barney were nominated for the Adjudicator’s Award for writing their original play. This is an incredible achievement, particularly as this is the first time the school has been represented at the festival.  

After performing the play last week, Barney, Rob and fellow student Amare McDonald received positive comments from adjudicator Julie McLoughlin. Julie commended the students’ performances, provided useful critique and praised the play’s potential. She said that while it was a ‘work in progress’ (being the very first performance of an original piece), there was opportunity for it to become something ‘quite exceptional’.  

The play was written and devised by Barney and Rob with the support of Mr Chambers, Head of Drama Productions, as part of their A Level Drama course. Additional support on set design, lighting and stage management came from students and staff at the school. 

Mr Chambers says, “This is a huge achievement for Rob and Barney in particular, but the whole team at Trinity who helped bring this play to performance. It has been a valuable experience for all involved, and they have learnt so much. The award nominations are a recognition of the talent and effort that went into this piece. They should be very proud.” 

Rob said, “After weeks of working on Letters of Last Resort, it was extremely rewarding to present it to an audience last week. I felt so lucky to perform alongside other drama schools and companies during the festival. There is so much credit that needs to go to our director Mr Chambers, also Mr White and Aidan Keogh for their work on our set design.  

“The performance was electric; all three of us really demonstrated the hard work we had poured into this project. Even when our jail bars unexpectedly collapsed mid-performance, this just added to the excitement of being on a stage once again (and at least it made it memorable!) 

“I was thrilled Barney was nominated for ‘Best Youth Actor’, as well as our original text nominated for the ‘Adjudicator’s Award’. Although I felt there were other productions more deserving of the prizes than some of the winners, it was overall brilliant to be recognised for our efforts, and without a doubt many of the winners had earnt it.  

“We are planning to put on a second performance of Letters of Last Resort at Trinity later this year, so if you missed the night on Wednesday, or heard good comments, or just fancy an edge-of-seat theatre experience, I strongly encourage you to come along. It has been a fantastic experience writing and performing this play, and I’m sure it will be something I never forget.” 

Congratulations to all involved.


Letter of Last Resort synopsis 

Submarine HMS Vengeance is on a mission at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, carrying a quarter of the UK’s nuclear arsenal. Three officers manning the submarine receive a radio transmission announcing that Britain’s Government has been destroyed in a blistering nuclear attack. Disagreement about the best course action following this news erupts between the three officers, torn between service of their country and betraying the orders of the Prime Minister in the pivotal Letter of Last Resort… 

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