The College did all the administration but, from the outset, the entrants formed the Committee. The entrants came from all parts of the area and were a mixture of local dramatic societies and Townswomen's Guilds, backed by tutorage from Further Education drama tutors.
Undaunted by the task before us, we moved venues to Otley Civic Centre where the Festival ran until 1998, but this period saw a decline in entries. This was partly due to the lack of facilities and location of the venue, the cost to societies of transferring props and scenery to the venue, and the increasing shortage of new and powerful one act plays. Other local Festivals such as Bradford Festival and Harrogate Festival suffered similarly and eventually ceased to exist and, in 1999 with only three entries, it was decided that we too should call it a day.
But instead of dying, the Festival was re-born as the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre. At this point I came up with the format by which our Festival is currently run - a peripatetic eight-month Festival in which assessors visit entrants and adjudicate on productions at the entrants' home venue, followed by an Awards Evening loosely modelled on the Oscars presentations. We put this plan forward at an open meeting and then re-launched the Festival at the start of the new millennium. Immediately we had fifteen entries, and in the ensuing eleven years this has doubled to thirty per year - the maximum the Festival can accommodate with the present number of assessors. It has been, and continues to be, extremely successful, and I am proud to say that its aims - to celebrate, and to advance the standards of, amateur theatre in this area, and to encourage young people into amateur theatre - have not changed.