Hertford Theatre Week is a six-night drama festival with a different production every night in the heart of Hertford. Teams travel from all over the country to compete for trophies and the chance to compete in the NDFA All Winners Festival. 2020 sees the 59th Hertford Theatre Week and brings the number of productions to 354. The Festival was instigated when a small committee from Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society, investigating the possibilities of further stimulating amateur drama, invited neighbouring Societies and Drama Groups to perform one of their own productions under festival conditions. With rules agreed and sufficient support promised to ensure a full week's programme of six different plays, 1962 saw the first Hertford Theatre Week. Sponsorship of the first ten years was provided by the directors of the Hertfordshire Mercury and County Press, the publishers of our local newspaper and supporters of local drama. Since 1972 Hertford Dramatic & Operatic Society has not only been the hosts and organisers but also the main sponsors.
In recent years the Festival has been completely self-financing and, unlike many full-length play festivals which draw sponsorship from their local authority or commercial organisations, our only revenue comes from the Box Office sales.
The Festival is run by a team of unpaid volunteers, many of who give up some of their annual holiday to work on the competition and whose only reward is their love of theatre and the satisfaction of being involved in what is now recognised as one of the leading full-length drama competitions in the country.
We are proud to say that in 2015, yet again, Hertford Theatre Week provided the winner of the NDFA British All-Winners Drama Festival, held at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking, Surrey, and in 2016 the Hertford Theatre Week team were proud to host this national event for the second time at Hertford Theatre. 2017 saw Hertford Theatre Week provide the runner-up at the All-Winners Drama Festival held in Barnsley.
The programme for 2010 featured productions:
Like A Virgin by Gordon Steel, presented by In Yer Space
Moonshine by Jim Nolan, presented by The Bovingdon Players
The Sociable Plover by Tim Whitnall, presented by The Heath Players
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer & Jess Winfield, presented by Katalyst Productions
Burn This by Lanford Wilson, presented by Be-Jou Productions
Art by Yasmina Reza, presented by The Company of Players
This will be the 49th year of the Hertford drama festival for
full-length plays, and I sincerely hope you read on and perhaps
consider entering, if not this year, then perhaps in the near future.
In terms of audience the Hertford festival is alive and well, but as with a large number of festivals (and also one-act festivals), attracting entries in these busy and financially straightened times is a perennial problem.
Please note, and especially if you are a regular entry in the festival, or have not previously found our regular date at the end of April convenient, that the 2010 festival is one month earlier than usual - the performance dates being Monday 22nd March to Saturday 27th March.
This is because our venue in Hertford is planned to be closed for a major refurbishment of the foyer and audience facilities from April 1st 2010. In 2011 we hope to return to our regular time of late April.
However, I would be interested in any feedback on the relative merits of both dates in relation to your own schedules, whether or not you decide to submit an entry.
I am pleased to say our very experienced and dedicated committee and technical team are continuing in their posts for 2010, so I am confident we can offer a friendly and well organised event. We all strive for professionalism in our presentation of Hertford Theatre Week, but recognise that you, like ourselves, are in the \'Am-Dram\' game not only to present our audiences with a superb performance, but also for our personal enjoyment and satisfaction. This is important and we try very hard not to lose sight of it in running our Festival.
We are fortunate to have a well-equipped theatre in Hertford at our disposal. The building, owned and operated by East Herts Council, seats almost 400. We have a good rapport with the theatre management and their co-operation is an invaluable asset. Where necessary, we supplement the theatre equipment with our own, or hire if appropriate.
This Festival is self-financing, and we have no grants. We try very hard to maintain our ticket prices to give the best value for money and this policy, I am sure, helps to keep our seats filled. Ticket prices have been held at the same level for the last three years, but I fear that for 2010 we may have to consider an increase, we shall see when we set our budget later in the year.
We do pay expenses, based on your distance from Hertford, and we endeavour to make them as generous as the budget allows.
This year it will be a great pleasure to welcome back to Hertford Paul Fowler GODA, an experienced adjudicator, who has adjudicated the Hertford festival twice before. His CV is available for your perusal
later in this document.
So, we have the facilities, we have the organisation, we have an audience, but we need you! Please read on and learn a little more about the festival, theatre, adjudicator and the Hertford team - none of us bite and we would love to hear from you!
Chairman Hertford Theatre Week
If you are someone who enjoys competitive theatre, why not also visit the Welwyn Drama Festival for one-act plays or the Welwyn Youth Drama Festival, for young teams, also presenting one-act plays.
Both are held at The Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City.
Paul Fowler is delighted to be making a return visit to Hertford to adjudicate at Hertford Theatre Week for the third time.Read more »