How the festival works

The Festival will run from 1 September 2021 - 30 April 2022


1. The 2021-2022 Festival will run from 1 September 2021-30 April 2022. If you wish to enter, please complete the entry form at the end of the Information Pack and send it to the Festival Secretary, with the entry fee of £30 and an additional £20 if you want a written assessment.   If your production is scheduled for a date before the end of September 2021, the closing date is 31 August 2021, while for entries with performances scheduled from 1 October 2021 onwards, the closing date will be 20 September 2021.  We will normally accept late entries if lateness is unavoidable and we reserve 5 places for Youth & Schools entries because we appreciate it will be difficult for schools to meet the above deadlines so soon after the start of the autumn term. However, please note that we have a limited number of assessors so we may have to refuse an entry or ask you to consider a change of performance date if yours clashes with two or more others or if the entries overall total over 30.

2. When the assessors' timetable of performance visits has been planned a Festival Committee member will let you know which Assessors and Committee markers will be marking your production.  You are then asked to provide a maximum of six complementary tickets and programmes.  We will also need from you a poster and up to five production photographs, which should be e-mailed to the Festival Secretary at as soon possible. These photographs will be used in a static display of production memorabilia for the competitions, a DVD presentation at the Awards Evening, and may also be put on the Festival website at

3. If necessary, you can give us the title of your entry later, but we need the show dates from the start to enable us to see if we have enough assessors available to mark it.  Shows entered in the Youth section are advised not to use actors aged 25 or over, as their contribution to the performance will not be counted and they will be ineligible for individual awards.  If you want a written assessment of your show, you must (a) circle the word YES against Question 8 on the entry form; and (b) enclose a cheque for a total fee of £50 when you enter.

4. The Secretary of each entrant will be notified of the dates, venues and ticket contacts for all Festival entries and this information will also appear on the Festival website. We strongly urge all Festival entrants to encourage their members to go to see other entrants’ productions during the year.  Once you have entered a show in the Festival you can also help with publicising your shows (Festival and non-Festival entries) on the Festival’s Facebook page.

5. The Festival is run to break even, not to make a profit, and money raised by the sale of Awards Evening tickets is used to offset the considerable costs of mounting the event.  Supporting the Awards Evening is essential and is particularly important in recognising and rewarding the achievements of young performers who participate.  The Awards Evening in 2022 will be held in early July, date to be confirmed.

6. Entrants will be notified of Award nominations prior to the Awards Evening.  Please order your tickets promptly, and please note that payment for all tickets must reach the Festival Secretary a minimum of 7 days before the Awards Evening so that accurate numbers can be provided promptly to the caterers for the event.  Please be aware that when you order tickets you are responsible for seeing that all your guests attending the Awards Evening comply with all rules of the venue, including those concerning smoking and the drinking of alcohol.

7. Please note that there are 11 awards for which no nominations are made in advance, and nominations in advance are not made for the Special Chairman’s Awards.   Do not therefore make the mistake of assuming that if your group has received few or no nominations that you will be receiving no awards.

Assessors & Marking

1.  Everyone who serves on the Assessment Panel is either experienced in the field of amateur theatre or is (or has been) involved in drama through education.  No-one is invited to join the Panel unless they can demonstrate that they fulfil these criteria.


2. The Assessment Panel is chaired by Ken Stott, who also chairs the Wharfedale Festival Committee.


3. There are five competitions within the Festival.  These are: Drama (Adults),   Drama (Schools & Youth), Musicals (Adults), Musicals (Schools & Youth), and Pantomimes (Adults).  The marking scheme used has been adapted     from one designed by GODA and is as follows:


                                                              DRAMA     MUSICALS/PANTOMIMES  

                                                         (Adults and Youth)         (Adults and Youth)


          Stage Presentation                            15                      15                   

          Production                                          35                      35                   

          Acting                                                 40                      35                   

          Theatrical Attainment                        10                       10       

          Choreography                                    -                         25                                          Musical Attainment                             -                        30                                                                    ___                    ___                                                                                                  100                  150                               


Please note that no-one aged 25 or over is eligible to compete in a production in the Schools & Youth categories.


4.   If your Society has paid for a written assessment, you should expect to receive it within one calendar month after the date of your production.  If it has not been received by then please let the Festival Secretary know.


5.   The written assessment your Society receives represents the opinion of one member of the Assessors Panel of the quality of the performance seen.  Its circulation and use within your society or group is your responsibility.  The assessor who provides the written assessment does not mark the production, and the content of the written assessment has no bearing on any of the awards because whichever assessor provides the written assessment does not also mark that show.

Sections & Awards

There are five sections:

  • Musicals (Adults)
  • Pantomimes (Adults)
  • Drama (Adults)
  • Drama (Schools and Youth)
  • Musicals (Schools and Youth)

The Awards do vary from year to year but in general include:




Best Actress


Best Actress (Musicals)

Best Actor


Best Actor (Musicals)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role


Best Dame (Pantomimes)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role


Best Villain (Pantomimes)

Best Director


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Best Overall Production


Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Stage Presentation


Best Musical Director

Best Comedy Performance


Best Stage Presentation

Best Programme Design


Best Overall Production

Ambience Front of House


Best Choreography

Outstanding Performance awards (Youth & Schools only)


Best Programme Design

Merit Awards (Youth & Schools only)


Ambience Front of House

The above awards will be complemented by other discretionary awards such as the Chairman's Special Awards, and may be varied from year to year to suit changed circumstances.

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© Wharfedale Festival of Theatre 2017