From July 17th to 23rd 2022, as part of the National Drama Festival, sixteen plays were performed by amateur theatre companies. This week-long theatrical extravaganza was the final heat of the annual National Drama Festivals Association competition, which brings together winners and high scorers from numerous drama festivals which have taken place across the UK as well as entries from Switzerland and Guernsey.
The Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon competed for the first time in 2021, where we achieved Runner Up in the full length play category with 'Queers'. This year, we were determined to up our game, and we took two plays to one of the regional qualifiers, the Lighthorne Festival of One Act Plays in June- 'Closer to God' by Anna Jordan and 'The Gift: Act 2' by Janice Okoh. Both plays scored highly, but we were thrilled that 'The Gift' received one of the highest scores ever given to a play at Lighthorne and got automatic entry to the final competition.
Given that the plays are the best at their regional festivals, the standard at the final is exceptionally high. We were therefore over the moon to go on to finally win the trophy for Best One Act Play, and Best Comedy Moment for our production of 'The Gift'.
The whole experience was thrilling and so rewarding. It is a competition, but within a very supportive environment, and the adjudicator Jan Palmer-Sayer gave such constructive feedback to everyone involved. You get to see all different kinds of plays and meet lots of interesting people, connected together through their shared love of theatre.
As a side note, our good friends The Talisman Theatre in Kenilworth won Runner Up in the Full Length Play category for their play 'Twinkle' which just shows how high the quality of amateur theatre is in our little corner of the Midlands.
You have a chance to see some of the festival entries on Sunday 11th September 2022, where we will be putting on a double bill of 'Closer to God' and 'Twinkle'. The performance starts at 5:30pm and tickets are available at on the Criterion website at www.criteriontheatre.co.uk