About the Festival

The Cambridge Festival of Drama is is an annual, competitive festival for one act plays - open to any team but priority is given to groups based in and around Cambridge. Organised by a voluntary committee, we employ a professional adjudicator to provide constructive feedback on the plays presented and award the trophies.

The venue

The ADC Theatre is Britain's oldest University playhouse. Plays have been presented on the site since 1855, when the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club (CUADC) was founded, and the society met and performed in the back room of the Hoop Inn.

The coaching inn stood almost exactly where the ADC Theatre stands today, suffering harder times when the advent of rail travel badly affected business. By the beginning of the 1850s, most of the inn was owned by William Ekin, a brewer and wine merchant. In 1855 Ekin let the CUADC two upstairs rooms, which were accessible from Park Street, or through the back entrance on Jesus Lane.

The ADC Theatre continues to be the centre of student drama in Cambridge, hosting ambitious and professional standard productions. Recent graduates continue to go on to great things; performing in films and on the West End, touring as comedians, and working in all areas of theatre. It also plays host to various amateur groups such as BAWDS, Combined Actors of Cambridge and Festival Players.

In 2019 the theatre underwent another big refurbishment programme which included the installation of a new lighting system, cooling for the auditorium, new seats and a lick of paint.

Full technical details for festival conditions will be available in the Technical Data Pack which is sent to teams directly.

ADC Theatre
National Drama Festivals Association
National Drama Festivals Association

The National Drama Festival Association (NDFA)

The Cambridge Festival of Drama is a member of the National Drama Festivals Association which means groups may be eligible to take part in further events and festivals should their production be successful at Cambridge.

You can read more information on the NDFA website.

The awards

There are a range of exciting awards up for grabs at each festival, awarded by the Adjudicator on the last evening. If you are lucky enough to win one one of these trophies then you have the pleasure of taking it home to display with pride until we ask for it back so that it can be presented at the next festival. The list of awards for 2019 is displayed below, along with short explanations of what they are awarded for.

First place

Awarded to the team with the most points accumulated from their adjudication

Second place

Awarded to the team with the second-most points accumulated from their adjudication

Third place

Awarded to the team with the third-most points accumulated from their adjudication

Best individual performance*

Awarded to the actor who gives the best individual performance

Best supporting performance*

Awarded to the actor who gives the best performance in a supporting role

Best technical achievement**

Awarded to the team that demonstrates excellence in any stage presentation category

Best new play

Awarded to the author of a new piece of writing at its first ever festival performance

Adjudicators award

The adjudicator can use this award for anything that they wish - often for things not included under other award categories

* Best individual/supporting performance - In common with current general theatrical parlance, no distinction is made between male and female actors, and the term “actress” is not used. These two awards will be made to the two actors, who, in the view of the adjudicator, give the best performance in each category.

Similarly, there is no separate award for actors under the age of 18. Cambridge Festival of Drama is open to teams of any age, and all of them will be competing on the same basis. Some teams may be entirely composed of young actors, and some may include both young people and adults in their casts. It is now possible for any team or participant to win any award, with no restrictions on eligibility.

** Best technical achievement - This will be given for any of the categories which fall into the AETF marking scheme for stage presentation. These may include lighting, sound, set design, properties, costume. The award is intended to acknowledge creativity and expertise in all aspects of a play other than acting.