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November 01, 2020

Organiser Rod Chaytor looks ahead as planning continues for the 2021 BAWF....

When - on joining NDFA Council in October 2018 - I offered to help organise the first Midlands-based All-Winners in living memory, I foresaw a number of challenges.


I did not anticipate that, with only months to go, there would not have been one recent UK Festival to produce potential participants.


Fortunately, by the time COVID hit in March 2019, the biggest decisions had already been taken. At the suggestion of Dave Sedgwick, of Nuneaton’s Warwickshire Festival, the location would be my birthplace of Coventry in its 2021 UK City of Culture Year.


The reopened, restored and majestic 500-seater Albany Theatre in central Coventry was the obvious venue and the Trustees’ welcoming Chair, David Meredith, immediately diaried Sunday July 18 to Saturday July 24.


The next challenge was to seize the opportunities afforded by the theatre’s spacious coffee-bar foyer, large studio, and adjacent areas to stage therein an exciting programme of daytime events to support the evening Festival programme.


Thus, on Thursday July 22, there will be a day-long Les Mis Masterclass led by Coventry actor Dave Willetts, whose career went from the local amateur stage to West End lead roles in both Les Mis and Phantom.


Then a third element emerged - the biennial Drama Festivals Conference, now to be held on the All-Winners’ closing weekend.


Following discussions with Coventry’s City of Culture team, NDFA Chair Stew Mison embraced their agenda by settling on the inspired and inspiring theme of Inclusiveness and Diversity, which has been met universally with heart-warming enthusiasm. The Conference will therefore examine and seek answers to a simple question: “Why are some groups under-represented in UK amateur theatre, particularly in the provinces, and what can be done to remedy it ?”


All this gave an opportunity for the three elements of Festival, Day Programme and Conference symbiotically to be linked.


The wonderful Side by Side access theatre group of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, is performing within the Festival’s main programme on the Wednesday night - and its Chair, Penny Amis, and AD, Sara Evans, will curate pertinent discussions during the Saturday Conference.


RSC Practitioners, working as freelances and led by Open Stages Producer Ian Wainwright, will give daytime workshops on Tuesday, July 20, before returning as official RSC delegates to the Conference on the Saturday.


It is all, hopefully, starting to feel quite joined-up, although specialists in scriptwriting courses and youth theatre are still being sought and sounded out.


Early in the process, the Arts Council asked us: ”Who’s organising this ?” The answer became a dozen-strong NDFA Sub-Committee representing a wide range of theatrical skills and from a geographical base focussed on Coventry, surrounding Warwickshire, and the wider Midlands.


Among them, naturally, was Coventry-based Prof. Anne-marie Greene, AD of the Criterion, Coventry’s premier amateur theatre, whose day job is Professor of Work, Employment and Diversity at nearby Leicester University.


Anne-marie, together with young black actor Alexander Mushore, who worked with the Criterion and several Warwickshire theatre groups, including Lighthorne, before retraining as a professional and joining an RSC touring company, will jointly lead keynote discussions at the Saturday Conference.


Speaking of my home festival of Lighthorne, although it will be challenging to reproduce its intimate Village Hall atmosphere, it is a given that the Coventry All-Winners - to be adjudicated by former GoDA Chair Paul Fowler - will absolutely aim to replicate its relaxed and informal warmth and welcome.


And where will those “Winners” come from ? There are contingencies. There is a plan !



Rod Chaytor

NDFA guidance re royalties for online performances - Click button to see PDF

November 13, 2020


October 27, 2020

Double winners of the British All Winners Finals, White Cobra Productions, share their experience of keeping creative in festival free a time of theatre closures and Corona Virus blues.....

On March 14th 2020, the curtain came down on White Cobra's first theatrical production of the year. We'd set up a short tour in local pubs of Peter Quilter's “Blind Date”, one of the four plays that makes up his play “Duets”. As events transpired not only was it our first stage show of the year - it was also our last.


Like theatre companies across the country Covid-19 and lockdown bought all our carefully laid out plans to a crashing halt. We were just a week away from the first night of our Spring production - Martin McDonagh's "The Lonesome West". The set had been built, the costumes sourced, the props (including a shotgun and over 100 plaster cast models of the Virgin Mary!) built, bought or hired, and the lines learned.


Had Coronavirus not intervened we'd been accepted into The Isle of Man Easter Festival of Plays, one of the highlights of our year and, rather excitingly, we'd been asked to perform the show at a festival in the Russian city of Perm later in the year.


There followed a period when we licked our wounds, but hoped we might still be able to go ahead with our outdoor summer production of “Wind in the Willows”, however it soon became obvious that too wasn't going to be possible, so what to do?


As things turned out we found a new way to be creative, we've launched a YouTube channel and have produced our first full length audio play called “Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer”. It was recorded under lockdown conditions, with none of the four cast members getting together, other than over Zoom meetings, recording their lines individually which were then edited together.


We've also recorded a series of five "mini-movies" based on “The Wind in the Willows”. These will not only act as previews when hopefully we get to perform the show in summer 2021, but as stand-alone stories featuring the characters from the classic story.


Just like when we first formed White Cobra we've started slowly doing small scale productions as we learn. We're lucky to have some brilliant people on board with the skills necessary to act, write, direct, and now record, film and edit!


We're planning to maintain the channel with the hope of putting out new material every month, alongside the Wind in the Willows films we've an original new comedy short called “One of those Days”, plus a great script with a lovely twist – “Running4Ever”. There's a lovely new audio piece called “A Summer of Spring”, and a little piece you may have heard of called “Macbeth”!


Make no mistake losing all our theatrical productions has been a blow, but we've discovered some brilliant new scripts we wouldn't have been aware of, kept the company busy producing new material, and hopefully set in motion a new venture to run alongside our traditional touring shows.


So lockdown doesn't need to be a time when theatrical groups stop performing, the curtain can go up again, it's just on a different stage.



October 19, 2020

The UK Drama Festivals Federation have moved the date of the British Finals to give organisers and teams time to arrange preliminary and regional festivals.

The British Finals will now take place in Wales at the Pavilion Theatre,  Rhyll on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th September 2021.

A statement from the federation said:" After a lot of 'toing and froing', taking the current climate in to consideration and the needs of all Countries to get their regional and final rounds completed, we have taken the decision to change the date of the BRITISH FINAL to:24th + 25th September 2021.

It wasn't an easy decision but we feel it will ensure that the British Final does take place and we can award the Howard de Walden Trophy to the winning Country."

Now it's over to you to get your regional Festivals underway to choose a winning entry to go forward to the Rhyl Pavillion and show everyone we mean business.

Let's make this a MASSIVE success and prove.......


Keep an eye on this website and GODA's Facebok group for further news as it happens.

Irish Festivals cancelled for 2021

October 14, 2020

There will be no full length drama festivals on the island of Ireland in 2021.


The Amateur Drama Council of Ireland and the Association of Ulster Drama Festivals have both announced the cancellation of all their festivals due to the uncertainty relating to  Covid 19 restrictions.

The ADCI says it is working on alternative ways in which festivals may be able to happen in some form, but no announcement has yet been made public. 

Festival Adjudications - Virtual Options

October 10, 2020

There are several ways we as adjudicators can be involved and support your festival. The situation regarding performances and rehearsal restrictions is changing all the time. It is vital to keep festivals alive and inspire those who are desperate to perform.

GODA is here to support in these challenging times, we are willing to adapt to suit your festival, and negotiate fees in this unprecedented situation.

There are several options you might want to consider if you want your festival to go ahead. We can adapt to suit your needs.


A live performance by Zoom could be watched by your adjudicator. This would be followed by a live adjudication and conversation with the cast and director.

Performances could be recorded and sent to the adjudicator, then a zoom meeting could be arranged for the adjudication. Another alternative would be a concise written report, which would be emailed within a few days of receiving the recording.

A peripatetic festival is another option, the adjudicator attending live performances of each play over an agreed period. Adjudications could be given after each performance.

Gala Award Evenings can be transmitted live. This would include a summary of the festival and the results announced in the usual way.

All these options are flexible and can be adapted ...and there may be other ways you think we can help so don't be afraid to join the conversation.

Details of our adjudicators can be accessed by clicking onto the Members section on the website

Young Actor of Mann 2020 Online Finals

October 06, 2020

The prospect of some festivals moving online during the Covid 19 Pandemic is both an exciting if daunting prospect, and a real opportunity for GODA Members.

GODA's Robert Meadows adjudicated this year’s finals of the annual Young Actor of Mann online and the following case study provides food for thought for festivals, teams and adjudicators alike.



For 2020 the proposal was that the candidates for the competition would have their performances recorded and sent across to the adjudicator to view and mark.

The performances were recorded and that recording, together with any scripts used, were emailed to the adjudicator who reviewed the performances, recorded feedback and decided upon the winner and runner-up of the competition.

The Task

The task, set by the adjudicator, was designed to open up the possibility for entrants to demonstrate a wider range of theatre-based skills and to draw upon their own creativity. The changes are also intended to enable competitors to be less dependent upon a teacher or performance coach.

The suggested theme was Endings and Beginnings.

Competitors were asked to produce a maximum 10 minute response which could take the form of either:

  • An extract from a published play or song from a musical theatre that relates to the theme (Similar to the approach taken by candidates in the past)

  • A show reel that explores the theme in ways that combines elements of the spoken word with song, movement and or the use multi –media and sensory arts approaches

  • Performance of an original work that is related to the theme

  • An innovative theatre-based approach to the theme that explores new boundaries

Competitors who wished to write and perform their own work were signposted to the following link:

Suggested Guidance for Recording the Performances

The following guidelines were suggested

  1. For the performance, the candidates should stay within a ten feet square space.

  2. Position the recording camera in the space usually occupied by a ‘live adjudicator’

  3. Allow each candidate the opportunity for ‘a dry run’ so that they get a ‘feel’ for the space and its acoustics

  4. Allow time for a sound check

  5. Remind competitors that they should start by giving their name and a brief introduction to the performance: title of scripts used and name of playwright and/or that they are taking one of the different optional approaches

  6. If the candidate ‘dries’ during the performance, have a policy in place as to whether a restart can be allowed: were there mitigating circumstances, for instance?

  7. If the candidate over-runs the time limit, make that clear in a note to the adjudicator who can deduct marks in line with festival guidelines

  8. If there is equipment failure which means that a performance has to be stopped or re-recorded, allow the competitor time to ‘gather’ themselves before any restart  


Nine candidates performed a range of responses on the same day and in the same venue. At the time of recording, restrictions were lifting on the Isle of Man.

The adjudicator was sent the recordings and these were marked. The adjudicator recorded his comments on each of the candidates in a twenty minute film.

Ten days later the performers reprised their work to an audience of family and friends at Empress Hotel in Douglas. At that event, the adjudicator’s film reel was presented to the live audience; after which, the names of the runner up and winner were announced.


What worked well?

  • the detailed considerations given to the ways the event was structured. There were a number of discussions and these were crucial in terms of  ensuring clarity as to the  expectations placed upon the young actors and appropriate guidelines

  • the nature of the task set, agreed through discussions between the adjudicator  and Jacqui Hawkes, the Young Actor of Mann coordinator, which enabled the candidates to work, without supervision, to create their performance work

  • providing an opportunity for the young actors to create their own original scripts

  • the high quality of the recordings produced by the technical team; this was crucial. The recordings were of a an excellent standard

Issues and Considerations

  • allocating time for detailed discussions with festival organisers and technical teams to agree as to what procedures might be put in place


  • asking it to be made known to the ‘live audience’  that the adjudicator comments relate  a recorded performance



  • resisting the temptation to view the recordings more than once; replicate how you would audience ‘in situ’


  • visualise yourself being ‘in the space and place’ (Not a substitute for being in the room, but it helped!



  • having tech support to record your comments and feedback


  • recognise that preparing thoughts for recording involves creating  a written ‘script’ for yourself so that the recorded feedback is ‘tight’. (Other adjudicators might be able to record their thoughts without this as  we would from the stage but the medium can be barrier)


Robert Meadows GODA

*Please scroll down to see Sue Doherty's report of the preliminary round of the Young Actor of Mann

Rona Laurie GoDA 1916 - 2020

September 09, 2020

Tony Rushforth remembers GoDA's longest standing member, who died last month at the age of 103.

My first encounter with Rona was when I was a teenager and she adjudicated the Craven Drama Festival in Skipton. I was spellbound by this erudite and attractive woman who evidently knew everything about theatre. This was in the halcyon full length festival days of the 'Northern Circuit' : Harrogate, Skipton, Clitheroe, Settle, Fleetwood when a respected adjudicator would go from one festival to another - as Rona did.


She had an excellent C.V. for any adjudicator : BA Hons in English Lit., trained for the stage at R.A.D.A where she was awarded the Principal’s medal in 1940, and acted in Rep and the West End for some ten years before teaching theatre. Before retiring she was Professor of Drama and Education at the Guildhall School.


In 1956 The Sunday Times National Student Festival held its first gathering with Harold Hobson as adjudicator, then the leading theatre critic for the paper, and Rona was asked to join him, which was a great honour.


During my first spell on GODA Council in the mid 1980's Rona immediately put me at ease and made me welcome. Over coffee she would recall stories from festivals, especially Ireland where she made many visits and enjoyed their generous hospitality.  I met up with her again at our AGM in the mid 1990's when meetings were held in the Board Room of the National Theatre (delusions of

grandeur ) however Rona had her feet firmly on the ground and helped steer us through some difficult organisational problems.


During her time with GODA she also worked for The Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama ( STSD ) both in the UK and adjudicating abroad and for a time was Chairperson of both organisations -  amazing commitment. She was given a Fellowship from STSD and of course became an Honorory Member of GODA when she retired in 1997.


Her book 'Festivals and Adjudication' was published in 1975 and later skillfully revised by Colin Dolley. It rightly became recommended reading for those applying for GODA Membership and I will close this appreciation with an extract from the book :


“The professional adjudicator must assess carefully, have high standards, and stick to them. He/she must sift the grain from the chaff and all the time give constructive criticism.”


This is what Rona did and tempered her adjudications with such style and wit –

a very special lady.

How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world. . .

August 15, 2020

What awful times we are living through.  Our own local theatres, The Company of Players in Hertford and The Barn in Welwyn Garden City (which many of our members will remember from their Selection Weekend), have this week, both been dramatically lit in support of the nationwide Light it in Red project.  The Barn looked eerily beautiful against the night sky, but remains empty for now and devoid of life, save a ghost light burning in the auditorium. 


I expect we all are feeling the vacuum in our lives, so much is theatre a part of what we are and what we do and, more importantly, what we share.  From my own point of view, all my engagements this year were cancelled – one even at the eleventh hour.  On March 14th (I remember it vividly!) I was packed and heading off to bed in good time for my early start the next day en route to Gibraltar.  At 10pm, the organiser finally got through to me on the house phone, having frantically tried to ring my mobile which by now, was recharging in time for the journey ahead.  In a heartbeat, Gibraltar had effectively closed down and the festival (even by then had been modified to go ahead with me as the solitary audience member) was entirely cancelled.  Half of me was disappointed, and the other half was relieved, knowing that really difficult decisions had been taken from me.  Following that, each festival, whilst hanging on by its crampons until the last possible minute, cancelled.  Like many of you this year, I haven’t worked at all during 2020.. 


Even now, the light at the end of the tunnel is still hard to spot.  When will it all be over, and when will we return to something that resembles “normal” life?  As each day passes, it becomes clear that whatever the future for theatre is, we are going to have to be creative about it.  For amateur theatre, not always so severely bound by financial constraints as our colleagues in the professional theatre, that future seems a little more realisable.  And the seeds of regeneration are beginning.  Through adversity, new ideas can be born and I have been so delighted to hear about some really imaginative  alternatives to what we recognise as live theatre.  


Spelthorne and Runnymede Festival, one of the oldest one-act drama festivals in the south east has abandoned any idea of staging its normal in-house arrangements and instead, is holding a virtual festival this October, inviting entrants to submit a video of anything up to 10 minutes in length which can feature a limitless number of cast members.  The piece can be a monologue or duologue; it can be mime, puppetry or a piece of stop-motion animation.  It can be a poetry reading and almost anything will be considered.  Full details are available:  on this link, and if you can, please support it.  I have offered something that will be too long for their requirements, but they will let me know if we can be accommodated.   It is just wonderful to hear about this positive and wonderful alternative.


In the Isle of Man,  alongside the famous Easter Festival of Full-Length Plays, the island hold a Young Actor of Mann competition, finalists having been chosen by a GoDA adjudicator during the One-Act Festival held earlier in the year.  The Easter Festival, sadly, didn’t go ahead, but finalists were filmed, with a very select audience and sent to the adjudicator, Robert Meadows, who, in turn, filmed his response to and comments on the pieces.  The finalists were gathered (socially-distanced of course) and performed their solo pieces to a small audience.  They then watched Robert’s comments on film before the Chairman of the association opened the envelope and announced the winners. 


The Willow Globe, near Llandrindod Wells in mid-Wales, has, earlier this month, staged an outdoor production of The Comedy of Errors, presented by touring company The Wet Mariners.  Usually playing to sell-out houses, this year, audiences had to be social-distanced and denied the usual tea and cakes at the interval, but - it’s live theatre!  At the Minack (outdoor) Theatre in Cornwall, they have eschewed their usual amateur (and often big cast groups) and assembled some professional productions of two-handers or solo performers.  Audiences will be suitably socially-distanced and spread throughout the auditorium.  My husband and I are travelling down to see all this in action – our own production of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, scheduled for Minack 2021, has now been bounced to 2022, but we were drawn to see just what seems to be possible in these current circumstances.


My own theatre company, Shattered Windscreen is hungrily creative and eager to embrace any opportunity, although we are an itinerant company with no premises of our own.  Not be daunted, we have already Zoom-staged the 2020 winner of NDFA’s Derek Jacobi Award, A Matter of Life and Death, with some degree of success (and a lot of personal satisfaction) and we are now busily engaged in rehearsals for the 2015 winner of the same New Play prize Girl Walks Into a Bar.  That one is scheduled for a Zoom performance on 10th and 11th of September at 7pm and I will send you an invitation if you would care to join us for either performance.  As an aside, I would say, that in all my years of adjudicating, Girl Walks Into a Bar by Matthew Wilkie is the best original one act play that I have ever had the pleasure of reading and adjudicating (at Woking Festival in 2015).  Just sayin’ ;)!


Even as I finish this article, I was heartened to read in the Times, today, quite out of the blue, the announcement from the government that theatres and performance spaces, along with sports venues are to reopen, with rules that limit audiences and enforce social distancing on stage.  Hurrah, and thrice hurrah!  Andrew Lloyd Webber, bless him, is also pictured in the Times today, acting as guinea pig in the British effort to develop a vaccine against the dreaded Covid-19.  The vaccine, reportedly is now in ‘late stage’ clinical trials in Britain in tandem with international trials in S Africa and Brazil. 


Life is not hopeless.  And whilst it is undoubtedly enormously difficult at the moment, I do think it is incumbent on those of us who can make a response, to make that response.  People need theatre – in whatever form that currently it has to take - and more than anything, they need the sort of theatre that lifts up, that excites, that stimulates and extends horizons.  I have a feeling (and this is, of course, my own view) that perhaps what we don’t need is theatre that is too challenging or too grounded in our current troubles.  Do we really want, at this moment, theatre that explores gritty social issues, or exposes political mistakes or reminds us just how difficult life actually is?   Personally, what I want is theatre in any form, but the more cheerful, the better! 


I look forward to seeing as many of you as is possible, at our Zoom AGM, and calling notices are coming out next week.  Please join in, no matter how unfamiliar you are with Zoom.  After 3 years in office, I will be hanging up my size 8s, but that won’t stop me from wishing the Guild and its new Chairman well as we face this next so very challenging year or three.  Until then, keep safe, and keep cheerful.


Jan Palmer Sayer

Chairman, Guild of Drama Adjudicators

Young Actor of Man Workshop 2020

July 27, 2020

Sue Doherty looks back to the spring and an adjudicating assignment with a difference 


The Young Actor of Man Competition is a well-established event, attracting young people from across the island. In the past entrants have been asked to prepare a solo piece for performance, and then eight performers are then selected to compete in the final held at a later date.


This year I was invited to put forward ideas for a different approach which might appeal to the young participants. After consultation it was decided to take a Workshop approach to give the actors the opportunity to show their versatility and explore a range of performance skills.


After a great week of adjudicating the One Act Festival at Port Erin, the workshop took place on Sunday March 8th in Onchan.


The workshop lasted five hours challenging the group to explore a range of dramatic devices and skills which can add imagination and interest to their work and how to create a particular audience response.

The first part of the session included a variety of physical and vocal warm up exercises. This was followed by several challenging tasks. Spontaneous group freeze frames were created in response to a range of quick fired situations, including a beauty salon, parents evening and a funeral parlour! Thought tracking each character resulted in some highly imaginative work.


The session then gained pace with various exercises based on the work of Stanislavski including the Magic “If” and imagination.  Each student was given the name of an object and given two minutes to create a monologue using their imaginative skills. Monologues created included thoughts of an engagement ring in a pawn shop, a dog in a rescue centre and a wilting plant. After each solo performance each character was hot seated by the group. It soon became apparent that this was very talented group!

Spontaneous improvisation exercises certainly stretched their imagination and resulted in some unforgettable performances.

After two hours of nonstop activity we had a short break then the real challenge began. The group were given an abridged version of “The Last Resort” by Chris Owen. This is a great script to use with young people. It is best described as a modern version of” Under Milkwood.”, it is a comic ensemble play that illuminates 24 hours in the life of a seaside resort. The script uses a chorus, other intervening devices and the opportunity for demanding multi role scenes.

The chorus lines were assigned to each cast member, and the use of pace, tone and vocal skills were explored to create atmosphere and how to engage an audience. The group were then divided into small groups and given individual scenes to explore and rehearse. After approximately 90 minutes of intense work the scenes and narration were combined to create a 15 minute performance. The result was a true ensemble piece showing superb interaction, concentration and highly imaginative individual performances. The task to choose eight performers out of eleven highly motivated and exceptional performers proved to be an impossible task. After consultation it was agreed that all the group deserved to progress to the next stage of the competition.

In a world where the arts provision for young people is not regarded as a priority, it was an inspiration and a joy to have the privilege to be invited to facilitate this event.

Photographs can be seen on Manx Amateur Drama Federation Facebook page and on their Website        

Membership News

June 03, 2020

Bob Tomson

GoDA is delighted to announce that Bob Tomson has been appointed an Associate Member with immediate effect.

Bob, who lives in West Sussex, has been an actor, stage and screen writer, a college and university lecture in drama, and now divides his time as a professional director in both theatre and TV.    His early years as an amateur actor with Liverpool Masque players and the National Youth Theatre gave him his first love of the stage, since when he has founded no fewer than 18 youth theatre groups, has become a sought after guest tutor at leading London Drama Schools and on amateur theatre training courses.

His credits as a professional director include West End and Broadway musicals and plays, earning him Olivier, BAFTA and Tony Award Nominations.

Julie McLoughlin

Following a successful assessment by two experienced members of the Guild at the Hull and East Riding Festival in March, Julie McLoughlin has been appointed a full member of GoDA. Julie, who lives in Jersey but spends much of her professional life in mainland UK, has been an Associate Member since 2010.

Contact details for both Bob and Julie are available in the appropriate Members section of the website.

British All Winners Finals Cancelled

March 19, 2020

The British All Winners Finals, due to be held at the Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle of Man from Saturday 18th to Friday 24th July 2020 has been cancelled.

Stewart Mison - Chair of the National Drama Festivals Association - announced the news in the following letter to members.


19 March 2020


Dear Members



It is with regret that, after consultation with MADF, this year’s organisers of the BRITISH ALL WINNERS FESTIVAL, a joint decision to cancel the week-long Festival in July has been made.


This is not a decision that has been lightly taken, but in view of HM Government guidelines causing the cancellation of most drama festivals between now and the end of May, together with Isle of Man Government restrictions on people entering the island which could continue into the summer, it seems this is the appropriate and responsible decision to take.


We hope this meets with your support and gives enough time for any plans you may have already made for late July to be altered and cancelled. For those teams or individuals who have already booked travel and accommodation, the advice from NODA insurance is to contact your travel provider and your insurer directly regarding any claim.


We are living in unprecedented times, the like of which we have not seen for well over a generation. The NDFA Festival Season starts again in September and all on the NDFA Council hope that the Coronavirus will be well behind us by then. The NDFA is already in advanced planning for the BRITISH ALL WINNERS FESTIVAL to be held at The Albany Theatre, Coventry in July 2021 where the Festival will be a key feature of COVENTRY’S CITY OF CULTURE 2021 celebrations.


To close, the NDFA Annual General Meeting is also having to be postponed until later in the year and I will write with new dates once we understand the future regulations for meetings.




Please check these pages for further news of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the drama festivals movement.



Isle of Man Easter Festival Cancelled

March 18, 2020

The Easter Festival of Plays, scheduled to take place at the Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle of Man from Saturday 11th to Friday 17th of April 2020, has been cancelled. 

The Manx Amateur Drama Federation, which organises the full length play festival has issued the following statement.

"It is with great sadness that we have to advise that the Easter festival is cancelled due to the travel restrictions to the island recently imposed in light of the Coronavirus situation. We are currently reviewing the situation for Young Actor of Mann Final and British All Winners Festival - as soon as we have more detail we will advise."

Please check these pages for further news of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the drama festivals movement.



British Finals Cancelled

March 16, 2020

Following a conference call meeting of the bodies representing festival organisations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the British Finals, scheduled to be held at The Pavilion Theatre, Rhyll on June 26 and 27, has been cancelled.

The following statement was issued by UK Community Drama Festivals Federation Chair Keith Robinson. 

"As a result of the unprecedented situation with the Covid-19 virus the UKCDFF committee held a conference call this evening, Sunday 15 March. After very careful consideration we felt we had no option other than to take the difficult decision to cancel the British Final this year.

Due to reasons beyond their control SCDA are not holding the Scottish Final and therefore will not be able to send a representative to the British, in this situation we felt it would not be right to go ahead without Scotland and this is one of the several factors that lead us to this decision.

The Geoffrey Whitworth Trophy will still be awarded and we will let you know within the next two weeks where the 2021 British Final will be held.

This is what we do and love and we appreciate it will hugely disappointing to the many clubs throughout the UK who have worked so hard rehearsing their plays, but these are difficult times. Can we also express our enormous appreciation and thanks to DAW and in particular Richard Jones and John Williams for the work they have already put into organising this festival, Rhyl would have been a fantastic venue and we were all eagerly anticipating our visit to North Wales. We will post this message on our web page and on Facebook but please pass it onto anybody who you think might be affected." 

Best wishes, Keith Robinson.

Please check these pages for further news of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the drama festivals movement.



Scottish Finals Cancelled by SCDA

March 15, 2020

The Finals of the Scottish Community Drama Association  One Act Play Festival, scheduled to take place in Orkney on the 23rd to 25th of April  has been cancelled.

The SCDA issued a statement saying that : "After careful deliberation, the National Executive has taken the difficult decision to cancel the Scottish Final.  There were several factors that led us to this, but a key consideration was the closure of the Byre Theatre to public performances and hence the cancellation of the Eastern Divisional final"

The Highland and Western Divisional Finals, scheduled for the weekend, have also been called off.

All people who have bought and paid for tickets for Orkney will be reimbursed in full.  Those who have sent cheques will have these returned to them. Those who have booked accommodation in Orkney should make their own arrangements.

Please check these pages for further news of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the drama festivals movement.



All Festivals in Republic of Ireland Cancelled

March 13, 2020

**Covid-19 Corona Virus Statement from Amateur Drama Council of Ireland **


"The ADCI are announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Amateur Drama Festival Circuit from 18:00 today Thursday 12th March. This decision is taken based on safety and on guidelines from the Government and the Health Service recently issued.

We are sorry that the Covid-19 Virus has brought us to this situation but in the National interest and to play our part we are taking this action. Please take care of yourself during this unprecedented event.

Any queries to"

In addition, the festivals scheduled to take place under the auspices of the Association of Ulster Drama Festivals at Enniskillen, Strabane, Mid Ulster and Bangor have been cancelled.

Check these pages for updates. 



Gibraltar International Drama Festival

January 28, 2020

Gibraltar has an annual drama festival, and for many years has always used a GODA adjudicator. It is a splendid festival, and any adjudicator who is lucky enough to be offered it should jump at the opportunity. The Festival will fly you over, put you up in a quality hotel, and entertain you royally. They will keep you busy (tour of the island, press interviews, television appearance, lunch with the Mayor etc.) but it’s all terrific. (Lovely warm climate too!)

The Festival itself has many youth and schools entries. Don’t be alarmed if you see five plays on in one night – some of them will only be ten minutes. As well as a spoken adjudication, the Festival requires a short adjudication on each play, about one side of hand-written A4, but they will pay extra for these. You will see a full range of ability, a little like a first round AETF event, with a very good standard at the top end.

The Gibraltar Department of Culture is full of lovely people who will look after you and make sure everything runs like clockwork. It is a great place….and a great festival.


Chris Jaeger GoDA

Cheshire Drama Festival Success

January 15, 2020


In September 2018 we were delighted to announce the launch of THE CHESHIRE ONE ACT DRAMA FESTIVAL which would take place in March 2019 at Nantwich Players Theatre. This was to be a new annual event as part of The All England Theatre Festival (AETF) and NDFA.

Over recent years the North West has seen the demise of some of its preliminary rounds, leaving only The Leverhulme Drama Festival (Merseyside) and the Isle of Man competing in the region.  Cheshire was to be a welcome addition to the North West’s festival circuit.

The inaugural festival was held Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st March 2019 and was a resounding success with six teams taking part from across Cheshire and was adjudicated by Mike Kaiser. The winners – Nantwich Players with “Edgar & Annabel” were to go on to win the semi-final and perform at the English final of AETF, as well as the All Winners Festival (NDFA).

Building on the success of this small festival, the baton has been handed to Macclesfield MADS who will host and run the festival for 2020. Their large stage and auditorium will welcome more teams over three or four sessions from Friday 13TH – Sunday 15th March 2020. This year the adjudicator is Jenny Scott-Reid.  John Chandler of MADS will take over as chairperson of Cheshire Drama Festival for this year with Sandie Laughlin (Nantwich) remaining as Treasurer.

It is hoped that for 2021 a new Cheshire host will carry the mantel so that another venue can be part of the Cheshire Drama Festival.

As the original festival organisers, we are confident the CDF will go from strength to strength and would like to express our thanks to everyone who helped us get it off the ground last year.

 Sue Doherty GoDA and Bev Clark GoDA

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