National Drama Festival comes to Coventry

Further events for the City of Culture 2021.

The very best in UK amateur drama will be on stage at the Albany Theatre, Coventry, later this month.

For the first time ever, the National Drama Festivals Association’s British All-Winners Festival is coming to Coventry, in its City of Culture Year, between Sunday July 18th and Saturday July 24th.

Although the festival spans the period in which the government has promised to review its COVID guidelines and regulations, the decision has been made that the whole Festival will be run as a socially distanced event.

It will feature the cream of the UK’s dramatic talent, joining together in a seven-day celebration of amateur theatre after a sixteen-month period in which UK theatrical productions all but ground to a halt.

The Festival will be adjudicated by Paul Fowler, GoDA, a former chair of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators who, on the closing Saturday night, will announce the winners in the three categories of Youth, One-Act and Full-Length plays.

The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr John McNicholas, together with the Lady Mayoress, have kindly accepted an invitation to attend on the Saturday night. The prizes will be presented by Coventry’s West End legend, Dave Willetts.

Coventry’s Criterion Theatre will open the Festival on the Sunday July 18th, with a performance of Queers – The Monologues, by various writers but curated by Mark Gatiss, co-creator of the popular Sherlock TV series and who starred in it as elder brother Mycroft Holmes. Also on the bill are Stratford-upon-Avon favourites Caramba, who will perform an episode of the classic 70’s TV comedy Steptoe and Son.

The All-Winners has been brought to the city by associates of the Lighthorne Festival of One-Act Plays, which has become a nationally-recognised event after being founded in the Warwickshire village in 2013. Lead organiser Rod Chaytor said:
”Lighthorne could never host a national festival but certainly the Albany Theatre can, and the City of Culture event seemed to provide the perfect opportunity to bring it to the city.

Tickets for each evenings programme are priced at £12 (£11 concessions) and are available from the Albany Box Office on 02476 998984 or website with discounted season tickets and group rates available.

On the closing Saturday, a one-day Conference on Diversity and Inclusion in UK Amateur Theatre will take place in the Albany Studio, with discussions led by, among others, Prof. Anne-marie Greene, Artistic Director of the Criterion Theatre, Coventry; Penny Amis, chair of the Side By Side Theatre Company of Leamington Spa; and Ian Wainwright, Participation Producer of the Stratford-based Royal Shakespeare Company.

Tickets for the conference, £35pp including lunch, are available from NDFA President Derek Palmer via [email protected] or 07860 573896.