The National Drama Festivals Association (NDFA) was formed in 1964 to encourage and support amateur theatre in all its forms and in particular through the organisation of drama festivals. Each year, the NDFA organises the British All Winners Festival, to which the winner of FEATS is eligible to be invited.
There are a large number of amateur dramatic festivals in the UK, whereas there is – to the best of our knowledge – only one in English (FEATS) in mainland Europe. It doesn’t seem fair to allow UK groups yet another festival to enter, when groups in mainland Europe don’t have the same reciprocal possibilities, owing to distance and logistical considerations.
However, the winner of FEATS is usually invited to take part in the British All Winners Festival each year – providing that the FEATS organising committee and the adjudicator think that the standard of the FEATS winner is sufficiently high.
FEATS now uses the NDFA marking system, although in past years there was one addition specific to FEATS. The standard NDFA marking system is:
- 40 points for acting
- 35 points for production
- 15 points for stage presentation
- 10 points for O, E & A (originality, endeavour and achievement)
Total: 100 marks
To these, FEATS has for many years added 10 points for Innovation, making a total of 110 points. From 2009, however, these additional points were dropped.
All FEATS adjudicators are theatrical professionals with considerable experience. They are drawn from the members of GODA, the Guild of Drama Adjudicators, membership of which is subject to a selection procedure.
No. Entry is by a rota system, in which groups having taken part in one year go to the end of the “queue” in the following year. See here for more about the lists underlying the selection process.
Any group that puts on productions in English and is based in mainland Europe.
If a group has not taken part before, it is recommended that it applies to put on a production in the Fringe Festival which accompanies the main festival, and also sits in the audience for at least one main festival. Immediately following the FEATS at which it has been present, as part of the Fringe, in the audience or both, the group should then send its application to perform to the following year’s host group. A new group to the Festival has an automatic right of entry for its first appearance and does not have to go through the annual selection procedure for that year.
See also the page containing information for new groups.
The first festival was organised in 1976 in The Hague. For more about the origins of FEATS, see FEATS history.
The running order is determined by the organising committee of the current festival, taking into account the following criteria:
- length of productions – to control, as far as possible, the length of each evening’s entertainment
- technical requirements
- type of piece – with the aim of ensuring a varied evening’s entertainment
- the groups’ expressed preferences.
Any impression that certain groups are favoured in the running order by getting their requested “slots” as a matter of course is mistaken.
Nine different trophies are awarded at the end of each festival. They include first, second and third place, best actor and best actress. See the full list of FEATS awards.
“An original script is defined as one being used in an original production, which original production has had its first public performance within the previous two years or at the current FEATS. It must have the director, set and interpretation that it had when first performed in public, although individual cast members can have changed since that first performance.”
Participating groups must ensure that performing rights for plays are paid where required. Within the EU, copyright protection is applicable until seventy years after the author’s death; so even if you are performing a play written long ago, you need to check whether rights have to be paid, especially in the case of a translation. One of the first things to do when choosing a play is to acquire the performing rights from the author or publisher. In addition, you must secure written authorisation for any cuts or changes made to the script.
Proof that rights have been granted must reach the organising committee within the time constraints allowed in the technical package. The absence of performing rights means that you will not be permitted to perform at the festival.
Yes, in the sense that the rules state that “No member of a participating group may be paid for taking part in FEATS”. However, groups composed wholly or partly of professional performers are not excluded under competition rules.