National acting award for Watford’s teenage champions

Young people at Watford’s Pump House Children and Youth Theatre group have won two national awards at the National Drama Festivals Association British All Winners Drama Festival.

Published: Tuesday, 23rd January 2018

Members of the volunteer-run Children and Youth Theatre (CYT) collected the Youth and Audience Appreciation accolades at the recent week-long Festival.

They entered Philip Ridley’s magical adventure Sparkleshark to the contest, performing it five times to achieve their two prestigious awards. The 12 teenagers had already made it through an earlier stage of the contest in Waltham Cross, seeing off competition to reach the All Winners stage. The 13 and 14-year-olds were up against 12 other groups around the country to win a place in the national final, and won plaudits from judges for their moving performance at the Lamproom Theatre in Barnsley.

Sharon Gaffney, Head of Publicity for Pump House CYT, said: “It was a nail biting time waiting for the results but they won. This exceptional group has won many awards performing in five-star shows and even taking some of their productions to the Edinburgh Fringe. This year, however, was very special. It is a fantastic achievement to win just one of these awards but to win two:  Everyone was elated!”

Cllr Karen Collett, cabinet member for community said: “We are proud to support the arts in Watford. We are proud to be helping our young people develop the skills they need to be successful, and we’re delighted to see their talent recognised on the national stage. Well done to everyone at the Pump House CYT!”

The Pump House CYT has been going for more than 40 years, and stages multiple productions – from mimes and improvisations through to large-scale musicals – on an annual basis. The CYT has two sections – Children, for eight to 14-year-olds, and Youth, for 14 to 25-year-olds – which meet once a week, and more often for some rehearsals. To find out more, or get involved yourself, visit – there is a form to fill out to join the group’s waiting list.

For your chance to see Pump House CYT in action, these talented young people will perform the iconic musical West Side Story later this month. The show will run between now and Saturday this week. Visit or phone 0333 6663366 to book your tickets.

The iconic musical – with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim – was inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Set in the Upper West Side neighbourhood in New York City in the mid-1950s, it explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks. The two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds, but it is the love story of Maria and Tony lies at the heart of this epic musical. Not to be missed!

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