About the Festival

Festival 2021

As we start yet another lockdown it feels weird to be writing of positive plans for 2021, but here goes –

The AETF feels that every effort must be made to have our Festivals in 2021 – were we to cancel another year it could sound the death knell for festivals everywhere. To facilitate this, at recent (Zoom) meetings the AETF has agreed to move the later stages of the competition to later dates; the English Final is now scheduled to be held on 7th August 2021 in Bridlington, with the British Final on 24th & 25th September in Ryhl.

This will hopefully give many early round festivals a greater choice in timings for their events. Maidenhead is currently scheduled for 18th – 22nd May, with the Eastern Area Final on 30th May.

We appreciate these gaps may give groups problems in keeping productions going, but they seem unavoidable.

The AETF has given each Area a lot of flexibility on how they organise their rounds (some Northern groups are already reconciled to videoing the early round, for example) – it’s just up to each area to produce an entry to the English Final.

There are also plans for help – the AETF will be making small grants available to festivals and groups that need an economic hand. Details will be announced shortly.

The AETF will also not be charging their ‘opting’ fee this year. Since the majority of you kindly gifted Maidenhead your 2020 fees, we will likewise not be charging an entry fee this year.

After Christmas we will be talking to Norden Farm Centre for the Arts about ways in which we can safely run the Maidenhead Festival next year and we will keep you posted about this; it may mean only 2 performances a night to allow for cleaning, or turning up in costume, for example.

In the meantime, please keep reading scripts, share them in Zoom calls, get planning on what you want to enter and how you can bring it about. Keep an eye on our and the AETF Facebook pages for updates and ideas – and do share your own.



A Drama Festival is a unique experience and Maidenhead is one of the top festivals in the country, attracting a wide selection of plays and performing groups from the local area.

Every Spring around 12 one-act plays are performed in front of an esteemed professional adjudicator and you – the audience.

The plays are between 20 and 55 minutes long, ranging from comedies to thrillers to highly-emotional dramas. Each one is critiqued by the adjudicator in front of the audience for acting, direction, stage presentation and dramatic achievement. The winners are announced on Saturday night, with the Overall Winner going through to the Quarter Final of the All England Theatre Festival.

You can come along and watch all of the plays or just a few – it’s completely up to you.