1. Each company taking part must consist of members of a bona fide amateur society which has a regular existence apart from the Festival. Although all players must be amateur, it is permissible for an entrant society to engage the services of a professional producer. For this purpose, those who have been engaged as a professional performer within the last two years prior to the Festival shall not be deemed to be amateurs.
  2. The Festival is open to all established Amateur Dramatic Societies and schools/colleges’ Drama Departments, but the Festival Committee retains full power to refuse any entry.
  3. Schools for the performing arts will not be eligible to enter the competitive element of the festival. They can however enter the festival and receive an adjudication.
  4. Societies are allowed to enter more than one team if they wish, but no person shall perform on more than one occasion. An actor in any play may be the producer of another.
  5. Performers for entries for Class 3 (Youth Group) must be 18 or under at the commencement of the Festival; i.e. the age limit does not apply to producers, stage hands, etc.
  6. Entries shall consist of a ONE act play, a short play, an excerpt from a full-length play which is in itself intelligible to an audience unacquainted with the play from which the excerpt is taken, or a full length play. The Festival Committee has discretion to accept or refuse plays, and priority will be given to one act plays. Playing time must be at least 20 minutes, and no longer than 55 minutes.
  7. Any competitor wishing to substitute another play for that originally entered will be liable for an additional fee to cover the Adjudicator’s extra work, and administrative costs.
  8. No entry can be considered unless it is accompanied by an original copy of the play marked with any cuts or alterations (a photocopy will only be accepted if the play is solely published on the internet, out of print, or unpublished). Copies of plays will be available for collection by or at the end of the Festival.
  9. Plays obtained over the internet are considered published and written permission to perform must be obtained, whether a fee is paid or not. Likewise, written permission to perform must be provided by the author of an unpublished play.
  10. It is the duty of all entrants to obtain, and produce to the Festival Organiser/Stage Director at the rehearsal, a written licence for permission to perform and for permission to make cuts or alterations.
  11. The order of playing (time and date of performance,) shall be decided by the Festival Committee with a view to arranging the best possible programme in the interests of the audience.
  12. No entry may take more than ten minutes to set and five minutes to strike. This includes special effects. These times are additional to the playing time allowed. Penalties on the same scale as detailed in Rule 26 below may be incurred if these times are exceeded.
  13. A set of curtains, a cyclorama and full stage lighting will be provided. A reasonable amount of scenery may be brought. All scenery and furnishings must be fireproofed. Portable lighting may be brought by the teams, but only by prior arrangement with the Festival Stage Director. Sound equipment is available but teams may bring their own equipment should they prefer to do so.
  14. Competing teams may meet the Festival Stage Director for a maximum of 50 minutes by appointment on the viewing day, to familiarise themselves with the facilities, test equipment and set lights.
  15. All scenery must be delivered to the scenery dock on the day of the performance between the hours of 18.00-19.00 on Tuesday to Saturday.
  16. Naked lights will not be permitted on stage.
  17. Competing groups will be provided with one free ticket for each member of the cast and crew for the night of the performance and two free tickets for the Saturday night.
  18. The Adjudicator will address the audience at the close of each session. On the final evening, the winner in each of the Classes will be announced, and the Adjudicator’s decision shall be final.
  19. Trophies will be held by the winners until their return is requested by the Festival Organiser. Winning groups will be responsible for the cost of engraving their trophies.
  20. No responsibility shall be accepted by the Festival Committee for the loss of or damage to the personal property of competitors, or for any other property or materials they may bring with them, or for any injury sustained by members of competing teams during the Festival.
  21. Except on matters strictly pertaining to adjudication, the ruling of the Festival Committee and its interpretation of these rules shall be binding on all competitors. Acceptance of this rule is an expressed condition of entry.
  22. By entering the Festival competitors have, in effect, undertaken a contract to give a public performance and are expected to appear even though, for example, one or more principal parts may have to be read.
  23. All performing groups should hold Public Liability Insurance with an insurer of repute, and with a minimum indemnity limit of £5,000,000. Proof will be required to be shown at the Stage Viewing rehearsal.
  24. Maidenhead Drama Festival will be approved by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead as a Body of Persons under S.37 Children & Young Persons Act 1963, which exempts the need for individual licences for any participants (on stage or off) who are children of compulsory school age. All groups, other than those constituting a recognised school, must, however, provide the Festival with the names, addresses and dates of birth of all such participants, together with a copy of their child protection policy.
    a. The Festival will serve as Stage One of the All-England Theatre Festival. Unless indication is made to the contrary on the entry form, all eligible teams will compete for selection to go on to all subsequent rounds up to and including the English Final.
    b. There is a £10 opting fee for going forward, payable to Maidenhead Drama Festival at the time of original entry.
    c. These Teams will be governed by All-England Festival Rules and must obtain a minimum of 70 marks to qualify for further rounds.
    d. Copies of the All-England Theatre Festival Rules may be obtained from the Festival Organiser, or from the AETF website –
    e. Financial assistance may, where appropriate, be given to the team going forward to the next stage. Should a team proceed further, additional assistance may be given.
    f. Teams undertaking to go forward must be available to compete in all later stages – see dates below.
    The playing time of any All-England Theatre Festival entry should not be less than twenty minutes or more than fifty-five minutes. Contravention of this rule results in loss of marks, as follows:
    Up to 1 minute under or over time: 1 mark
    Up to 2 minutes under or over time: 3 marks
    Up to 3 minutes under or over time: 6 marks
    Up to 4 minutes under or over time: 10 marks
    Up to 5 minutes under or over time: 15 marks
    More than 5 minutes under or over time: Disqualification.


16th December:Submission of Entry Form and payment
13th January:Deadline for receipt of scripts
15th February:Lighting and Stage Plots to Festival Stage Director
15th February: Programme details to be received by Festival Organiser
15th February:Young Persons Participating Form to be received by Festival Organiser
22nd March:Stage viewing times -10.00 - 20.00
22nd March:Trophies from 2019 engraved and returned
23rd/24th March: (If required) Stage viewing times -16.00 - 18.00
24th May:Eastern Area Final - Barn Theatre, Oxted RH8 0AA
13th June:English Final - Bridlington Spa YO15 3JH
26th & 27th June: British Final - The Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl LL18 3AQ

Download Rules PDF

It was with a sad heart that the Committee met yesterday and agreed that we had no option but to cancel the Festival. Co-incidental with us coming to that conclusion Norden Farm advised us that they were closing the venue for the next 3 weeks at least.

We are sorry that it has come to this, but the health and safety of all is of the utmost importance.

Thank you for your support and understanding, and stay safe during these difficult times.