Membership News

June 02, 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

Russell Whiteley

April 30, 2018

With great sadness, we have to announce that Russell Whiteley peacefully passed away at Leeds General Infirmary on Saturday 21st April, following an accident at his home.

A Requiem Mass will be held on Wednesday 16th May at St John the Baptist Church, Normanton at 12pm prior to cremation at Pontefract Crematorium.

A full obituary will appear in the next edition of Asides.

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