about nsdf 19




The 2019 Festival took place from Saturday 13 to Friday 19 April in venues across Leicester. 

Most of the festival activities took place in and around Curve Theatre, 60 Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1SB.  

Our mission is to empower and inspire young talent and ambition, to teach skills, to help launch careers and build the
audience of tomorrow.
  • Anyone aged 16 to 25 years old can participate at the Festival.
  • We present productions selected from all the entries we see throughout the year.
  • We programme a range of workshops covering performance, producing and technical theatre.
  • We run late night events every evening and daily discussions on the shows and discussions and forums on industry issues.
  • We have a festival magazine called Noises Off with volunteer students who apply for places on the editorial team.
  • We have a volunteer student Technical Team and Management Team who apply for places and help us produce the festival.  

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 the 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. 

Take a look at the full programme of shows for NSDF 19 here. 



The Festival Technical Director and a team of 14 professionals lead the student team of up to 60. They learn about Sound, Lighting, Rigging, Carpentry, operation of specialist equipment, Stage and Venue Management, Health and Safety, Pyrotechnics and much more besides. A full induction precedes an intense hands-on working week that includes transforming empty spaces into fully functioning theatres and providing technical support for all the shows and events at the festival. 


I left feeling empowered, enlightened and knowing more about how I want to make theatre and make things happen.

Fest Goer | NSDF 18 Survey



The Management Team are a student team who manage and organise front of house, the venues and the workshop programme.They are the face of the festival at registration and throughout the week and responsible for artist liaison and logistics.



The maverick of the festival. Led by a professional editorial team, a team of young writers volunteer to be part of the editorial team who produce the daily magazine - hard copies and rolling news online. Anyone at the festival can write, review, make comment, provoke debate and stir it up.



The Festival company is designed to reward and assist those people we have seen in shows who we think are special talents. 

So all of our selectors keep notes on those who have individually impressed them the most, in order to invite them to join the annual Festival Company.

This year the Festival Company will be directed by Peter Bradley.

This means that each Company Member uniquely has a specific point of contact and mentoring throughout the Festival, as well as special Festival Company workshops and classes.


The networking, energy and quality of the shows, workshops and events were brilliant.

Fest Goer | NSDF 18 Survey  


Take a look at our Archive to see the full programme of workshops we had at NSDF 18, including those led by legendary fight directors RC ANNIE, queer performance makers MILK PRESENTS, actor and theatre maker LUCY ELLINSON, writer and performer CHRIS THORPE and director ROY ALEXANDER WEISE.


Celebration, 2017