A DELICIOUS mix of comedy, love story, horror and thought-provoking history will feature in the 78th Welwyn Drama Festival in Welwyn Garden City next week.

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A highlight of the festival season, the week-long event takes place at the Hawthorne Theatre from Monday, June 11 to Saturday, June 16.

Thirteen one-act plays will take to the Campus West stage, with teams from all over the UK competing over the six nights.

Eight of the teams appearing this year will be presenting new works and there will be at least two plays performed each evening.

The festival is due to open on the Monday with Sofa Story by St Albans company Breakaway Theatre and Woodhouse Players’ True FM, a new play by Andy Harker. Sofa Story by Pete Hawes is a comedic and touching tale of finding love in the strangest of places – even down the back of a sofa!

Breakaway Theatre make a second appearance with Bed by Jim Cartwright on Wednesday, June 13.

This is a surreal look into the dreams of a group of people forced to spend the night time together in an enormous bed.

Also appearing on the Wednesday will be Company B, a group formed especially for this year’s festival and bringing together new and not so new members of the Company of Ten in St Albans.

They will be presenting The 2012 Overture, a new play by Jane Fookes.

Keen to prove herself and gain promotion, a young reporter brings her editor a terrifying scoop unaware of the horrors the story could unleash.

Digswell Players take to the stage on the Tuesday with the story of Olive and Hilary, a play by Geraldine Aron.

Olive and Hilary have exchanged the ‘rat race’ for reading Tarot cards and selling herb-filled pillows. Well-meaning friends try to persuade them to give up the simple life, but Olive and Hilary take an unusual revenge.

Winners of the Tony Sidoli award for Best Play at the Abbey Theatre Festival of New Playwriting, the fantastically named All Actors are Psychotic from St Albans bring new play Empire of Dirt by Ian Jordan to the Hawthorne Theatre on the Friday.

As pastor Clay Jones ends another day at the mega church, New Faith, in Bible-belt USA, he is visited by Jerry Summer, an ageing member of his congregation, proclaiming a revelation with profound implications.

All the way from Leicestershire, Oadby Drama presents A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter.

This compelling play, based on Oliver Sachs’s Awakenings, explores the extraordinary situation of a woman who has spent three decades in a catatonic state and how she tries to come to terms with waking in the present.

Despite its haunting quality, it is a curiously positive and life-enhancing piece.

Tickets for each evening cost £10 on the door, or £8 in advance.

Student tickets are just £5 and under-16s go free with a paying adult.

For tickets, ring the box office on 01707 357117 or book online at www.hawthorne theatre.co.uk

The box office is open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 8.30pm, and from 9.30am to 8.30pm on Sunday.

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