An original script and handmade costumes helped Eardisley YFC steal the show at The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) Performing Arts final, sponsored by Isuzu UK.
The national competition – which was a sell-out – was held at the Spa Centre in Leamington Spa on 12 May, and followed on from the NFYFC’s Annual General Meeting, which was held at Stoneleigh Park. Five teams competed at the national final after making it through County and regional rounds.
The Herefordshire club has reached the national final five times before but this is the first year Eardisley has clinched the top trophy. The club’s 40-minute performance of Down the Garden Path was written by former members of the club and involved a cast of 31 members ranging from 10 to 24 years old.
Eardisley YFC’s Club Secretary Zoe Whittall said: “We are absolutely buzzing, we can’t believe it. Everyone who wanted to be in the play was in it. Everyone who wanted a part had a part and we’ve had an absolutely fantastic time doing it. We’ve been to five national Entertainments Finals and we have finally won one!
“Everyone has been fantastic and so enthusiastic and keen to get involved and that’s what our club’s all about and we’ve loved every second of it!”
Eardisley YFC faced stiff competition from four other teams in the Final including Caldbeck YFC in Cumbria, Buxton YFC in Derbyshire, a team from Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) and Guilsfield YFC in Montgomeryshire.
It was a tough decision for the three NODA adjudicators who admitted the standard was extremely high.
West Midlands NODA Regional Councillor Ian Cox told a packed auditorium: “Any performance that begins with Vivaldi’s Spring is to be admired and we saw that in Eardisley with their particular performance. The puppetry in that show was of the absolute top quality and it impressed us enormously.”
It was a special moment for Buxton YFC when the winners of the best actor and actress awards were announced. The two awards went to brother and sister Samuel and Lydia Slack for the characters they played in the production When I Grow Up that was written by their father Peter Slack – a former Buxton YFC member.
Sam played a comical granddad figure that he says was based on his own Granddad who sadly passed away six months ago and Lydia took inspiration from her idol Victoria Wood to play her comedy role as a sheep farmer.
Buxton YFC’s production also came second in the competition and Sam said they were delighted to have reached the final.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed that we even got this far,” said Sam. ”It’s dad who has helped us and pushed us to get here really.”
George Wallis, Isuzu Head of Marketing, said: “Isuzu (UK) Ltd are proud to sponsor such a fantastic competition with such talented young farmers. Congratulations to Eardisley YFC on picking up the win. All the clubs that made the final were a credit to the farming community with their amazing performances. We wish all of them every success in their farming careers.”
The aim of the NFYFC Performing Arts competition is to encourage YFC members to work together to produce and perform an act using skills learnt through training and practice. It encourages skills in teamwork, writing and communication – as well as developing dancing, singing and theatrical talent.
The Performing Arts competition was also supported by the William A. Cadbury Charitable Trust.
Eardisley YFC will be staging their performance of Down the Garden Path on 7 June in an Open Air Theatre style production at The Dairy House, Eardisley from 7pm. Tickets available on the door – £6 for adults and £3 for children. All proceeds will go back into supporting the club.