After a week of high-quality performances of a range of plays by eight talented theatre groups, Enniskillen Drama Festival came to a close with a prestigious awards ceremony at the Ardhowen Theatre.

Following the final play of the festival, 'One Man, Two Guvnors' performed by Bart Players, which had audience members in stitches throughout, the awards ceremony on Saturday, March 11, was led by Enniskillen Drama Festival Director Dave Rees.

Dave was assisted in the presentation of the awards by the festival's adjudicator, Declan Drohan, and Enniskillen Drama Festival committee members.

He began the awards ceremony by welcoming all in attendance and thanking those who had made this year's festival possible.

"I am so pleased to be standing here after a week of the drama festival, reflecting on how important the arts, and in particular, theatre is to us all.

"There is a redemptive power in theatre. It certainly can entertain, but importantly it challenges, it asks us to think and it brings us together," he said, going on to acknowledge the dedication of the drama groups, Pomeroy Players, Rosemary Drama Group, Theatre 3, Clontarf Players, Butt Drama Circle, Ballyshannon Drama Society, Newtownstewart Theatre Company and Bart Players, that took part in this year's festival, thanking them all for their commitment.

Dave continued by thanking Enniskillen Drama Festival sponsors for their support; The Killyhevlin Hotel, Crudden and Dolan, O’Doherty’s, The Credit Union, Lochside Garages, Experience Enniskillen and Modern Tyres.

Commenting that putting on a festival is "no easy thing, but it is made easier when you have great people around you", Dave added: "The drama festival committee have worked so hard to put this on, and I would like to thank them wholeheartedly."

He went on to thank Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; the Council's Arts Manager, Bryony May, who he described as a "great support"; Charlie Oldcroft and The Moorings, who looked after the catering for the drama groups and provided "wonderful hospitality", as well as The Cake House.

He also thanked those who make the Ardhowen Theatre function including the tech team, people behind the scenes, front of house and volunteers.

Also thanking the festival's adjudicator, Dave said: "I want to extend my sincere thanks to Declan Drohan, our adjudicator, who has been so entertaining and informative each evening and whose adjudications I think have been enjoyed by so many."

Ahead of presenting the awards, Dave highlighted two awards in particular; one new, and one that has been re-named.

"The new award is one for sound design, and this has been donated by last year’s adjudicator, David Grant, in memory of his brother, Alastair.

"David can't be here tonight as he will be adjudicating at another festival, but I wish to take this opportunity to publicly thank him," he said.

He continued: "The other award is one that we as a committee decided to rename, and in agreement with the Byrne family, we have renamed the audience award, The Jimmy Byrne Audience Award, in memory of a dearly-loved family man, businessman and a huge supporter of this festival.

"Jimmy and Modern Tyres have supported us for all of our 42 years. This award will be presented to the winner by James Byrne."

Enniskillen Drama Festival award winners

Blue Riband – Overall Winner, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Ballyshannon Drama Society

Winners – Open Section (Imelda McLernan Memorial Cup): Ballyshannon Drama Society

Winners – Confined Section (Enniskillen Credit Union Cup): Clontarf Players

Best Director – Open Section (Michael Love Cup): Rachel O’Connor, Ballyshannon Drama Society

Best Director – Confined Section (L.W.N. Hall Cup): Myra Maguire, Clontarf Players

Best Actor – male (The Blake Cup): J C Bonar, Butt Drama Circle

Best Actor – female (Impartial Reporter Cup): Brid Turner, Clontarf Players

Best Actor – male in a Supporting Role (Mercer Cup): Troy Devaney, Ballyshannon Drama Society

Best Actor – female in a Supporting Role (Sloan Cup): Joanne O’Doherty, Newtownstewart Theatre Company

Best Irish Play in an Irish Setting (Lochside Cup): 'Midden' by Newtownstewart Theatre Company

Best Setting (E.A.D.S. Cup): Butt Drama Circle

Best Lighting – sponsored by The Rotary Club: Butt Drama Circle

Best Moment of Theatre (Eamonn Bradley Cup): Bart Players

Most Promising Young Actor (Herts Aid Trophy (King’s Langley Players)): Hannah O’Brien, Newtownstewart Theatre Company

Audience Award (Jimmy Byrne Trophy): Rosemary Drama Group

Sound Design (The Alistair Grant Award): Rosemary Drama Group