Versatile Ryan Wins Best Actor Award

July 8, 2011
Ryan Salter Webley Winner 2011

Top actor Ryan Salter (centre) surrounded by other cast member of ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ (left to right) Richard Dymond, Nicky Davies, the play’s director Claudia Barnes, Clare Drewett and Bruce Campbell (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Ryan Salter was named Newport’s best actor when he was presented with the prestigious Webley Award at Newport Playgoers Society’s AGM.  Ryan won the coveted award for his versatile playing of five roles – including a grumpy old codger, a village policeman and a middle-aged woman – in Playgoers’ production of the popular Ealing comedy ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’.

Ryan Salter in The Titfield Thunderbolt

Ryan Salter as a policeman, one of the five roles he played in 'The Titfield Thunderbolt'. He is pictured with Nicky Davies (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“I was really pleased and proud to be voted the winner of this award, especially as I was up against some very tough competition from some of South Wales’s finest amateur acting talent,” said 27-year-old Ryan.

During the course of the madcap comedy, Ryan had to make 16 quick costume changes and was on stage for much of the time.

“It was pretty hectic but lots of fun,” said Ryan who studied Drama in Theatre and Media at Glamorgan University. “The play was an incredible group effort. It was one of the most innovative, creative and well-received productions that the Dolman Theatre has ever staged.”

 Ryan started acting since he was 12 when he joined Dolman Youth Theatre and he was in their production of ‘Moonfleet’ which was taken to the National Theatre inLondon. He is now busy preparing for his next challenging role – of Manuel, the hapless Spanish waiter in ‘FawltyTowers’ which will be produced in September.

The Webley Award is awarded by Playgoers each year in honour of Thomas Webley, the Society’s first President, who was Principal of Caerleon College, which is now the University of Wales, Newport.

Newport Playgoers also scooped five awards in the recent Gwent Drama League presentations, for their production of the gritty drama ‘Going Straight’. Clare Drewett and Bob Brown, won best supporting actor awards. And the play also won prizes for  best play, best production and best set..

Newport Playgoers Scoop Gwent Drama League Awards

July 5, 2011

Director Catherine Cook at the Gwent Drama League Awards

Newport Playgoers were celebrating after scooping five awards for their production of the gritty drama ‘Going Straight’. As well as winning the awards for best play, best production and best decor, two of the cast, Clare Drewett and Bob Brown, won best supporting actor awards.

The play, by Richard Harris, tells the story of two ex-gangsters and their wives meeting up on the Costa del Crime and re-living their glory days in 60s London. It was staged at Newport’s Dolman Theatre in February.

Winners of the best supporting actors awards, Bob Brown as Ray and Clare Drewett as Brenda in 'Going Straight'

Winners of the best supporting actors awards, Bob Brown as Ray and Clare Drewett as Brenda in 'Going Straight'

Commenting on the production’s success, the play’s director Catherine Cook , said, ” It was a wonderful awards evening and I felt extremely proud. I am genuinely surprised that we did so well – there was very stiff opposition from many other good societies and I honestly didn’t expect such an outcome.

“When you consider we only had a cast of five and that two of them won the best supporting categories I think it’s brilliant but well deserved. Bob Brown has recently crossed the divide from operatic to drama and has more than proved his worth. Clare Drewett is consistently good and very versatile as she’s shown with the numerous and varied roles she takes on.

“The adjudicator said our set design was be “the best ever seen on an amateur stage”. The design and construction was chiefly done by Graeme Johnson and Linda Ward who are always innovative in their ideas. They came up with the wonderful atmospheric and imaginative set which matched the mood and drama of the play.  Everyone connected with the play made it such a success from Dan Aston who did the lighting to Michelle Jenkins on sound, Chris Burrows on props and prompt Sue Morgan.”

Playgoers are currently beginning rehearsals for their 88th season which starts in September. Among the productions will be the stage version of ‘FawltyTowers,’ the outstanding drama ‘Frost/Nixon’, Alan Bennett’s ‘Lady in the Van’ and another Richard Harris play ‘Dead Guilty’. Further information about all the plays can be found on or by phoning the Dolman Theatre box office on 01633 263670.