NSDF welcomes entries from all young people aged 16-25, whether you're in education or not. If you are making a piece of theatre - whatever it is - we are interested and would love to come and see it 

Selection Day for NSDF 20 has taken place. We are now looking to select shows for NSDF 21. 
We are currently unable to send our Selection Team out to see shows due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It is our hope to pick this back up as soon as it is safe for us to do so. Please get in touch with Lizzie, [email protected] if you would like to speak to someone about entering your work for the 2021 Festival. 

Click here to download our How to Enter a Show information pack. 

Throughout the year, we select shows from all over the country, and present all the selected shows at the Festival. Entering a show gives you and your company the chance to perform at the Festival. If your show is selected, you will perform in front of the whole festival audience (number of performances dependent on style and scale of the show). 

A typical audience will be other students from around the country, professional artists, reviewers from our Noises Off magazine and our guest Judges. The feedback you get will be invaluable. You will be challenged and have an opportunity to discuss your work with everyone at the Festival in our show discussions chaired by writer and performer Chris Thorpe. 



Our judges from the past three years have included theatre directors Tamara Harvey (Artistic Director, Theatr Clwyd) Kerry Kyriacos Michael (former Artistic Director, Stratford Theatre Royal) Hannah Miller (Head of Casting, RSC), Prasanna Puwanarajah (Actor and Director) Stephanie Street (Actor and Writer) and actors Carlyss Peer, Nickie Miles-Wildin, Dona Kroll, Debbie Korley and Cathy Tyson. 

You might get spotted, commissioned, mentored or meet new collaborators.

Read more about what it's like to take a show up to the Festival here. 


NSDF has opened so many doors for us - Barrel Organ would probably not exist if it weren't for NSDF. It got us started and gave us the push out of the door we needed. On a personal level - it wasn't until doing NSDF that I started to think of myself as a Theatre Director - it wasn't until going there and meeting brilliant people and having a platform to share work that I thought it was an achievable aim to 'be a director’. Ali Pidsley | Theatre Director | Barrel Organ


Take a look at our NSDF Alumni here. 


How to enter

Everything is done online. When you click the link below you will be asked to login or create an account and then enter the details of your show. Once you’ve completed the form and paid the fee, we will find one of our Selection Team – a group of professional artists working in the industry – to come and see your production on one of the dates you’ve given us.

They will watch the show and talk to the cast and team after the show for up to an hour. They will offer feedback and ask questions about the work and the process.

Early on in the year, we will have a Selection Day where we all meet to discuss the work we’ve seen and then select a number of the productions to come to the Festival. If your show isn’t selected, we might recognise people that we were particularly impressed by and invite them to join the Festival Company.

The cost of entering a show is £98. This is a subsidised fee, and helps us cover travel, accommodation and Selector fees.


What are we looking for? 

We select the productions we think are the best we have seen but with an eye on the process a company has undertaken, the subject matter, the diversity of casting and ambition. We consider work that is ‘in development’ if it is well acted and well produced. The mix of work is always varied - new plays, musicals, devised work, extant plays - staged in ‘traditional’ theatres, found spaces, immersive and site specific or site responsive. We champion risk and work that reflects the political and social conversation. 

Put simply, we are looking for the best work by people aged 16-25 in the country. Whoever you are, whatever you do, we can't wait to meet you. 

Take a look at our Archive to see the programme of work presented at NSDF 19.

If you have any further questions about entering a show, please get in contact with Lizzie at [email protected] or call the office at 07539768087.



To enter a show please sign up as a member. This will allow us to keep you updated on all our activities, opportunities and to administrate all applications and bookings.

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