THE 90th annual Isle of Wight Music, Dance and Drama Festival (IWMDDF) kicked off on Sunday, with its customary influx of creative performers of all ages competing.

The three-week event officially opened with a pop and rock day, at Shanklin Theatre.

Among the winners on the first day was Lottie Paine, 12, from the Island Free School, who secured success in the rock and pop solo, musical theatre solo, and as part of a duet with her friend Josie Flack in the musical theatre duet category.

In total more than 1,800 entries were received for the competition, which offers participants the chance to receive feedback from expert judges for their public performances.

The speech portion of the competition began on Monday, with more than 20 children aged six to seven involved in the boys' solo verse speaking category that inaugurated proceedings at Garfield Road Methodist Church Hall.

One name consistently among the early winners was Ryde School's Amara Wetherall, nine, who won six categories, including the keenly contested girl's solo poem, which received 27 entries.

She said: "I have really enjoyed getting on stage this week, even though I would like to be a lawyer when I'm older. This has been an amazing festival so far."

Her mother, Claire, said: “I'm not sure where Amara gets her creativity from. She's really worked hard for this competition, and it's lovely to see her do so well.

“We would like to thank her tutor Ellen Weeks for all her help in the build-up.”

In among the slew of notable performances, was Tilly Everett — a nine-year-old who took to the stage despite an abundance of nerves and quivering limbs, alongside her grandfather John Beattie. She grew in stature during a heartwarming presentation.

Tilly and John — who dressed as Dorothy and Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz — were a single point away from securing top spot in the parent and child duologue category, with adjudicator Vivienne Redford describing their performance as captivating and explaining there was just a hair between the top two entries.

Tilly said: “My grandad was entered as a Christmas present from my mum, and we decided to perform the Wizard of Oz.

“Miss Weeks is a really good teacher, she helped to prepare me for the performance.”

Amara and Claire won the parent and child category.

Ellen Weeks, who is deputy chairman of the festival as well as teacher to a number of the children, competed in a number of categories after promising to do so if her students did.

She said: "I've taught around 80 students in the piano and speech elements this year, and the standard is superb.

"The big thing about the festival is we are so fortunate with volunteers — the whole thing wouldn't work without the many people who give up their time for three weeks.

"To see children and adults, some of who are initially reticent and a little shy, get on stage and visibly grow in confidence is very pleasing.

"This is a supportive atmosphere for them to blossom."

The 90th annual IWMDDF continues until March 21.

Further details about the event can be found at

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Monday March 2 winners:

Boys' Verse age 6 and 7 — Sebastian Drake; Girls' Prose age 8 and 9 — Amara Wetherall; Boys' Prose age 8 and 9 — Cruz Madden; Devised Theatre — Arreton Primary School; Girls' Verse age 9 — Amara Wetherall; Boys' Verse age 9 — Evan Greszczyszyn Rico; Boys' Verse age 10 and 11 — Harris Middleton-Leal; Girls' Prose age 10 — Nancy Laverty; Boys' Verse age 14 and 15 — Angus Barrett; Boys' and Girls' Sight Reading age 14 and 15 — Mary Broadsmith; Boys' Verse age 14 and 15 — Sara Hesse; Improvised Drama Pairs age 14 and 15 — Alicia Allen and Jessica Claridge-Law; Dramatic Scene post- 1980 age 14 and 15 — Alicia Allen; Dramatic Scene post-1980 age 16 to 18 — Sophie Nolan; Drama Duologue Senior — Debbie and Andrew Green; Miming Team Senior — Ryde Speech & Drama Club.

Tuesday March 3 winners:

Dramatic Scene age 12 and 13 — Alice Owen; Girls' Verse age 12 — Chloe Neale; Girls' Prose age eleven — Amelie Jones; Sight Reading age 10 and 11 — Daisy Evans; Boys' Prose age 10 and 11 — Harris Middleton-Leal; Girls' Verse age 11— Emily Burrows-Mucogllava; Sight Reading age 8 and 9 — Amara Wetherall; Girls' Prose age 12 and 13 — Ellie Attwell; Parent and Child Duologue — Amara and Claire Wetherall; Original Poetry Composition Junior — Amara Wetherall; Original Short Story Composition — Amara Wetherall; Women's Verse — Ellen Weeks; Tennyson and Living Poet Adult — Ellen Weeks; Prepared Reading Adult — Caroline Jacobs; Original Poetry Composition Adult — Monica Courtenay and Andrew Pellow (shared); Book at Bed age 16 to 18 — Ellen Weeks; Sight Reading Adult — Ellen Weeks and Caroline Jacobs (shared); Impromptu Speaking Adult — Ellen Weeks.