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Festival Adjudicator  and Marking Process

Keith Phillips  (Assoc.  GoDA)


Keith’s involvement and interest in the theatre began in the 1960’s when, as a nine year old, he played a tree in an infant school production. From little acorns his interest continued through junior and senior schools where he contributed to productions either behind the scenes or on stage.  Memorably, for him, playing in drag (for the first and only time) at 16 in Ionesco’s ‘The Bald Prima Donna’.

After his school years he joined a local amateur group, in Barnet, and continued to learn and gain valuable experience in every aspect of theatre; from acting to stage managing, scenery design and building, lighting and sound and eventually producing and directing.  Marriage, and house prices, motivated a move a moderate distance north. He joined a club in Huntingdon, contributing to every production even if that was serving tea in the interval. A lover of all things Shakespearean, he became a Trustee of the local ‘Shakespeare at the George Trust’ and played in a number of productions as well as directing.  In the 1980’s Keith was asked to start a Huntingdon Drama Festival which ran for a few years before local council funding ended.

Keith then became very active in the Cambridge amateur theatre community and also co-founded two Theatre Companies, to take new and classic plays further afield; including a number of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Occasionally, when inspired, he will pound a keyboard and turn out pantos or one-act plays but it too modest to mention his three new play awards.

 In 2018 he retired from the Chair of the Cambridge Drama Festival; having guided it through to celebrating its 50th year.

Keith’s 45 years’ experience and expertise in amateur theatre combined with strong support from Jennifer Scott-Reid, who is well known to Leatherhead Drama Festival audiences, led to his joining GoDA in 2014 as an Associate member and he is enjoying adjudicating at Festivals the length and breadth of the UK.  



HOW DOES AN ADJUDICATOR ASSESS THE PLAYS AT A FESTIVAL?


The Festival is a competition. Each play is assessed by a professional adjudicator who awards marks for the various aspects of the performance whilst also offering praise and suggestions for possible improvements where appropriate.


In order to understand what the adjudicator is looking for, here is a brief glance at the rules:


Firstly, it is necessary that each company taking part consists of members of a bona fide amateur society or group that exists outside and apart from the Festival.  Although all players must be amateurs, it is permissible to engage the services of a professional producer or director.


Each production must be either:

a one-act play, previously published or newly written or devised by the group.

an extract from a longer play, provided that the extract is intelligible to the audience who may not have seen the play from which the extract is taken

an abridged version of a full-length play.


Licences are required for copyright-protected works and permission obtained for any changes.


Playing times are important. All groups, both Junior and Adult, must play for a minimum of 20 minutes and a maximum of 55 minutes. Penalty points will be deducted for not keeping within the allotted times.


Groups may bring additional scenery as is considered essential for their production, but box-sets (i.e. completely enclosed sets constructed of flats standing independent of and unrelated to the curtain surround) are not permissible. A set-up time of 10 minutes is allowed prior to each performance, and afterwards there will be a further maximum time-limit of 5 minutes to strike (dismantle) the set. Again, points are deducted if time-limits are exceeded.


Our adjudicator will follow the GoDA marking system:


ACTING    40 POINTS

DIRECTION    35 POINTS

STAGE PRESENTATION  15 POINTS

DRAMATIC ACHIEVEMENT 10 POINTS


As any GoDA adjudicator will admit, an adjudication is always a personal one, but based on strict guidelines laid down by the Guild of Drama Adjudicators. It is how the play was judged and seen on the night.  

Hopefully, the above explanations will help to make the adjudicator’s assessments clear to you.


BUT DO JUDGE THE PLAYS FOR YOURSELVES AND SEE WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH THE ADJUDICATOR.