The Welwyn Drama Festival
By Robert Gill
The Welwyn Drama Festival began in Welwyn Garden City in 1929. The Festival is a competitive drama competition open to amateur drama groups/organisations in the UK.
The Festival is a One Act Play Festival where each play is a one act production or full length between 20 and 55 minutes long. The Festival runs for a week and culminates on the last night with the award of trophies to those teams judged by an adjudicator to be the best.
The origins of the Festival began with a committee headed by F J Osborn, a founder of Welwyn Garden City, with a Miss Flora Robson as the first Festival Stage Director.
The Festival has been running every year since except during the war years. In the beginning, the Festival was held in the Embassy theatre in Parkway until 1974 when following the closure of the theatre, the Festival moved to the new Campus West Theatre where it has been held ever since. For many years, the Drama Festival was a significant social event of the year within Welwyn Garden City and was well supported by the community, there often being standing room only. In later years, the attendance and support has dropped considerably with the theatre having many empty seats even on the last night.