Top Stars and Writers Support Premiere of New Plays at Dolman Theatre

October 7, 2010

Michael Sheen, Alan Ayckbourn, Helena Bonham Carter and Dame Judi Dench are just a few of the famous names who have sent messages of support for a festival of one act plays taking place at the Dolman Theatre next week (12th – 16th  October).

Phil Mansell with messages from celebrities

Phil Mansell with some of the signed photos of support from writers and stars.

The Hole in One Act Play Festival, inspired by the Ryder Cup being held in Newport, features four brand new plays chosen by Wales’s top playwright Frank Vickery from over 40 entered in a competition to find new writing talent. Taking an innovative and quirky look at golf, the plays include a couch potato who is given a free virtual reality golf session, the tale of how a down-at-heel crazy golf course attempts to revive its flagging fortunes, and a Pinteresque look at life, golf and everything.

“As the plays were the winners of a competition designed to encourage new writing for the theatre, I decided to contact prominent people in the arts to lend their support to the festival,” explained Phil Mansell, whose play ‘Bunkered’ is one of the plays featured.

“To my delight we’ve had a great response, including a message from Sir Alan Ayckbourn, signed greetings from Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Ben Kingsley, Prunella Scales and James Bolam – and a postcard from Alan Bennett apologising that he has no photos but sending his best wishes and hopes everyone has a grand time.

”West End star Connie Fisher wrote to say she might even pop in to see the plays as she lives in the area and her husband loves golf.”

'Bunkered' photo

Businessman Bulstrode (Alex Wilson) shows his secretary Poppy (Sam Jones) how to play crazy golf in 'Bunkered by Phil Mansell

Phil’s play is about the owner of a crazy golf course which is in dire straits because it’s at the downmarket end of a recently revamped seafront and unable to compete with the exciting and glitzy new attractions at the other end of the bay.

“I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember,” said Phil, who as a student at the London Film School, wrote and directed movies and has since worked in  a variety of creative roles in advertising and PR. “Seeing my play brought to life by  some of the best local acting talent has been amazing. I’m now determined to have more of my plays staged at the Dolman, and am currently writing a novel and working on ideas for a TV sitcom.”

Playgoers President, Bruce Campbell, said, “The standard of entries for the competition, which was organised to tie in with the Ryder Cup coming to Newport, was extremely high, and selecting four for this festival of one act plays was no easy task. Luckily we were able to call upon the considerable skills of playwright Frank Vickery as a judge, and the result is a fascinating mixture of plays which promises to provide a real theatrical treat.

“Having good luck messages from such prominent actors and writers is the icing on the cake,” he added.

The Hole in One Act Play Festival is at the Dolman Theatre from 12 – 16 October. For more information and to book tickets, phone (01633) 263670. More information is available online at and