Speech & Drama

Regulations and General Information


These Regulations should be read carefully. It is the responsibility of teachers to ensure that all entrants will be presumed to have read and accepted them before arriving at the theatre to perform.

1.1 Friday 15th December 2023 Closing dates for entries. N.B. In event of being oversubscribed we reserve the right to reject entries. It is therefore advisable to submit all entries as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
See Regulation 2 for details.
1.2 Friday 19th January 2024 A Timetable and Competitors’ Schedule will be sent to teachers and private entrants.
1.3 Sunday 21st January 2024 All "Own Choice" titles and authors must be submitted.
All trophies to be returned.
1.4 Sunday 25th February – Sunday 10th March 2024 Classes will be held at the Radlett Centre and at the James Theatre in Watford.(Watford Grammar School for Boys). Check the timetable (see 1.2 above) for venues and dates of specific classes.
  Sunday 24th March 2024 Speech and Drama Finales will be held at the James Theatre.






Entries must be submitted by Friday 15th December 2023. N.B. In event of being oversubscribed we reserve the right to reject entries. It is therefore advisable to submit all entries as early as possible to avoid disappointment. All entries for 2024 must be made online.


Teachers who have previously entered should use their existing log-in credentials.

2.3 Any new teachers or parents who have not entered online should register their details on the website before submitting entries.
2.4 Payment should be made by credit card, debit card or BACS transfer at the end of the entry process. We are unable to accept cash or cheques due to the administrative overhead involved. The BACS information will be available on screen during the entry process.
2.5 Entry fees cannot be refunded if for any reason a competitor is unable to attend. A refund will be made only if the Festival Committee finds it necessary to cancel any class.
2.6 A solo competitor may only enter a class once. Duologue competitors may perform in a class more than once provided their partner and the script is different. An entire group may not enter a class more than once; however, individuals may perform more than once with different groups.





3.1 Competitors must enter the class which corresponds to the School Year they are attending (or, for home-schooled competitors, the School Year they would be attending).





4.1 Set poems can be obtained from here.
4.2 In all "Own Choice" classes the verse and prose or acting script selected must be by a published writer other than the competitor and not set elsewhere in the syllabus. ONE CLEAN, LEGIBLE COPY (BOOKS and PHOTOCOPIES are not permitted) of the piece to be performed must be provided for the Adjudicator. Marks will be deducted for poor scripts. Please hand in your script at the Reception Desk on arrival. Failure to do so may result in the entry being graded without a mark.
4.3 The Festival audience is a captive one, and usually includes children. The performance of material that may cause offence is not acceptable in classes other than those which include Year 12 or Year 13 students, which are not group performances; the inclusion of such material may result in marks being withheld, or in disqualification. Please substitute or remove bad language in a script, and mark up the adjudicator's copy to indicate any changes.
4.4 If a piece includes adult language or material that parents and younger children may find inappropriate, please mark this up on your script, so that the Section Leader can warn the audience.
4.5 Copyright - The Watford Festival has entered into an agreement with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and pays a fee that enables authors to receive payment for the live performance of their work. It also means competitors do not have to seek copyright permission for any poetry, prose or solo dramatic items performed up to a time limit of 10 minutes provided they submit details of the title and author to the Festival by the due date (January 23rd 2022). Duologues and Group Dramatic activity are not covered by this agreement and copyright for these items should be sought by the performers.





5.1 Time limits set MUST NOT be exceeded. In all "Own Choice" classes, performances will be timed. If a performance overruns it will be drawn to the attention of the adjudicator and marks will be deducted. If the overrun is excessive the performer will be stopped and ineligible for a mark or place. Announcing the title or giving a brief introduction is not included in the timing.
5.2 Once the timetable has been published, requests for transfers to more convenient times will NOT be granted.
5.3 A competitor must perform in the class in which his/her name appears in the programme. A competitor who has entered the wrong class will receive an adjudication, a certificate and a grade, but not a mark, medal or place.

Setting the stage. Tables, chairs and stage blocks are provided; no table sturdy enough to stand or sit on may be available. Setting up and striking a set must be completed quickly and help can be given by members of the audience. Stage Stewards should not be expected to help with this.


Visual aids (VAs) used in Public Speaking S33, S34, S35 – These must be visible from the auditorium. A stand suitable for laptops and poster-type VAs is provided, as well as a flipchart-type easel. Be aware that laminating or putting VAs in plastic pockets will reflect the stage lighting and may make them hard to see, as will using small images on either laptop screens or paper/cardboard VAs.




All candidates are expected to maintain a high standard of dress appropriate to a Festival.

In the Speech Section (classes S0 – S39) school uniform may be worn but is not compulsory. Entrants must be smartly dressed. Tracksuits, trainers, blue jeans and flip-flops should not be worn. In the Drama Section (classes S40 – S65) detailed requirements are stipulated in the syllabus.

6.2 Entrants who disregard these regulations may be penalized.





7.1 No filming or photography is permitted during a performance or adjudication. This is to avoid disturbance to performers and to comply with copyright, child safety and child protection regulations.





8.1 Marking System: all competitors receive a remark sheet and certificate. For marks of 75-79 a certificate of Merit is awarded, 80-84 Special Merit, 85-89 Distinction and 90+ Honours. First, Second and Third Places, and Gold, Silver and Bronze medals respectively, are awarded in all classes with a sufficient number of competitors, provided the class is of a suitably high standard. Remark Sheets and Certificates are usually ready for collection in the theatre foyer within 15 minutes of the conclusion of a class.
8.2 In any class where entry numbers are small the Adjudicator may choose to award only First place, or First and Second places. Equally, where classes are of a suitably high standard, more than one Second or Third place may be awarded.
8.3 Medals are awarded in solo and duologue classes at the discretion of the Adjudicator when a mark of at least 80 has been achieved. The receiving of, or competing for, all class trophies (other than those awarded at the end of Group classes) is contingent upon all gold medallists performing again in the Finale concert.

All trophies are the property of the Watford Festival. Winners must sign a receipt. Trophies must be returned by the requested date before the next Festival. Holders are responsible for any loss or damage.





9.1 Entry to or exit from the auditorium will not be permitted during performances or adjudications.
9.2 Competitors, teachers or members of the public may not communicate directly or indirectly with the Adjudicator for the duration of the Festival, unless specifically asked to do so, or to give a simple message of thanks. The Adjudicator’s decision in all cases is final. He/she may stop or disqualify a performance, or withhold an adjudication or award
9.3 The Speech & Drama Committee reserves the right to change or add venues, class dates/times and adjudicators if necessary and refuse an entry or stop a performance. Classes can be withdrawn, re-arranged or joined together should the number of entries warrant this. Classes can be excluded from or added to the Finale as time permits.
9.4 All complaints should be made in writing to the Section Leader – Dan Collins, 48 Park Crescent, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 3PU.





10.1 A copy of our Child Protection Policy is available to download. It is important that all teachers circulate this to parents and guardians of children entering the Festival. A copy will be on display in the foyer of the theatres.
10.2 Parents and Teachers are reminded that it is their responsibility to maintain supervision of their children and pupils at all times whilst they are on Festival premises.