Waltham Forest Festival of Theatre

The Waltham Forest Festival of Theatre is a week long festival of plays and performances by local drama and youth groups. Anybody can take part, regardless of age, race, gender, ability or experience.TheBearHug
Woodhouse Players in a scene from Bear Hug by Robin French (2009 Festival)

During the course of the festival, amateur companies from East and North London and neighbouring parts of Essex and Hertfordshire stage short, scripted plays which may include music, dance, mime and and other skills that the participants enjoy performing. Most performances take place during evening sessions, comprising two or three plays, and there might also be matinee sessions on a Saturday afternoon. At the end of each session, a qualified adjudicator gives a critical review of each play. At the end of the week, the adjudicator assign the various awards to entire production teams and casts, individual actors, writers and directors as appropriate.

Teams can volunteer for selection to represent Waltham Forest in the All England Theatre Festival. This exists to "give amateur theatre groups the opportunity to take part in a progression of festivals, starting in their own local area and possibly ending at the English final. The benefits of competitive drama are in raising standards; to allow people to compare the standard of their work with that of other companies and to learn how to improve."

The Waltham Forest Festival of Theatre is the only one in London which offers a whole week of drama. Some of the participating groups return year because they appreciate "the spirit of harmony and co-operation" and every year new groups, who are taking part for the first time, are welcomed and supported.