Annual youth drama festival calls for entries as it enters the digital age

The 77th WGC Youth Drama Festival will enter the digital age with entries open.

The 77th WGC Youth Drama Festival will enter the digital age with entries open. - Credit: WGC Youth Drama Festival

Schools, theatre groups, and societies across Hertfordshire are being encouraged to enter a youth drama festival that’s entering the digital age.

Kyle Gould in Private Peaceful, the Limitless Academy of Performing Arts production that was the Sen

Kyle Gould in Private Peaceful, the Limitless Academy of Performing Arts production that was the Senior winner at the 76th WGC Youth Drama Festival - Credit: Limitless

The end of November is traditionally the deadline set by the Welwyn Garden City Youth Drama Festival for entries to be received into its annual week-long event that is staged at the Barn Theatre in early March.

This year is no different... except that the festival itself is likely to be very different.

With socialising rules changing almost daily and continuing uncertainty about what may or may not be possible in the way of staged events early next year, the WGC YDF team refuse to be daunted.

They are determined that a means will be found to run the 77th festival from March 1 to March 6, 2021.

The Unlucky for Some cast from Limitless, Senior second in the 2020 WGC Youth Drama Festival

The Unlucky for Some cast from Limitless, Senior second in the 2020 WGC Youth Drama Festival - Credit: Limitless


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Invitations and entry forms, together with an explanation of the committee’s ideas, have been sent out to all schools and drama groups already on their radar.

However, there are undoubtedly other Herts schools or societies who, for all sorts of reasons, might never have previously considered entering. 2021 could be the year to change that.

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Among the trophy winners at this year’s 76th festival were Royston’s Limitless Academy of Performing Arts, with its production of Private Peaceful taking the top senior prize, and Letchworth’s St Christopher School, the junior winners.

Unless national guidelines change, the 2021 WGC Youth Drama Festival will be a truly digital affair.

Big Spirit Youth Theatre production Pronoun was Senior Third this year. Picture: Simon Wallace / Mel

Big Spirit Youth Theatre production Pronoun was Senior Third this year. Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures. - Credit: Archant

Participants will submit a film or video to be shown on a digital platform where adjudicator, Sue Doherty GoDA, as well as the audience, can see it and there will be a chance for the audience to vote for their favourite.

The traditional silver cups won’t be presented, but there will be performance medals awarded by Sue to 10 talented performers, and Olaf the Ox and friends are waiting to find new homes with the winners in some new categories.

Usual rules for the festival, which attracts entries from across Hertfordshire and further afield, have been scrapped.

The entrance fee has been dropped and entrants are invited to submit a performance piece of between five and 50 minutes, and of any performance genre.

St Christopher School, Letchworth, performing Romeo & Juliet, the Musical. They were winners of the

St Christopher School, Letchworth, performing Romeo & Juliet, the Musical. They were winners of the Junior section. - Credit: Supplied

So, if groups are going ahead with an NT Connections piece, that would be welcome, or if tied up in lockdown, then a piece of animation, a mini-musical, a toe-tapping dance piece, a Zoom production, an amusing collection of poems, in fact anything at all would be welcome.

If it is possible to show some of these performances onstage at the Barn Theatre, then that will happen.

If some can be shown as filmed offerings and others as live pieces of performance with an audience, that will also happen.

If that is not possible in March next year, performances will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook.

Olaf the Ox

Olaf the Ox - Credit: WGC YDF

If you would like an entry form, email secretary@wgcydf.org.

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