about nsdf 20 

The next National Student Drama Festival will take place from Saturday 4 April to Friday 10 April 2020. The Festival will take place in venues across Leicester City. 

For more information about all the different ways you can get involved with NSDF, from entering a show to being on one of our Festival Teams, please visit our Get Involved page. 

You can book tickets to NSDF 20 here. 


This past week with @NSDFest has felt like theatre's version of Disneyland - it's that magical. Grateful to all emerging sparks met and to those who gave us their time. Proud to be part of the #NSDF fam. Azan Ahmed | Festival Participant 2019 


For one week in Leicester, the best theatre created by 16-25 year olds from all over the UK is presented to an audience of young people, professionals and public. Alongside this NSDF runs around 100 workshops led by some of the most talented professionals in the industry. There are discussions, debates and masterclasses. Talent is spotted and coached and lives get changed. You get to be part of something. 


  • Anyone aged 16-25 years old can participate at the Festival, it doesn't matter if you are in education or not! 
  • We present productions selected from all the entries we see throughout the year
  • We programme a range of workshops covering performance, producing, technical theatre and everything in between
  • We run late night events every evening and daily discussions on the shows and on industry issues 
  • We have a festival magazine called Noises Off with young people who apply for places on the editorial team 
  • We have a Technical Team and Management Team made up of young people who apply for places and help us produce the festival week



So, what will NSDF 20 look like? 

This year we are excited to announce that Gary Lineker will be our Patron. You can watch his interview with playwright Simon Stephens on our website here.  

The Shows

Our Selection Team are currently on the lookout for shows to be taken to the Festival. Our Selection Team, made up of industry leading professionals, are watching productions made by young people across the entire UK. After every show they lead an hour long feedback and training session with all participants, covering every aspect of the work they have seen and the aspirations of the group they are meeting.

Want to enter a show or find out more about what this involves? Check out our Enter A Show page. 

You can take a look at the Full Programme of 2019 Shows here. 

The Workshops 

Over 7 days we organise over 100 workshops for festival participants to choose from. Every day we present workshops led by some of the most exciting and brilliant artists and organisations in the industry. 

The Workshop Programme for NSDF 20 will be announced in March 2020. In the meantime have a look at some of the stuff we got up to at NSDF 19. 

At NSDF 19 we presented Masterclasses from legends such as Dame Harriet Walter, Simon Stephens, Timberlake Wertenbaker and April De Angelis. 

Workshops were offered by, among others, these major institutions: the RSC, Young Vic, Royal Exchange, Manchester; Nottingham Playhouse, National Theatre of Wales, National Youth Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Good Chance, Soho Theatre, Sisters Grimm, Headlong, Rash Dash, Middle Child, Barrel Organ, Fuel, Paines Plough, Lung, New Diorama, Bristol Old Vic, Mountview, Equity and NSDF Company in Residence Slung Low.

Take a look at the full NSDF 19 Workshop Programme. 


Dame Harriet Walter at NSDF 19

Dame Harriet Walter at NSDF 19 


The Festival Teams 

We have 3 different teams you can be a part of. The Technical Team, The Management Team and the Nosies Off Critics Team. 

Applications to be on one of these teams are now closed. You can find out more about each team and how to apply for next year by looking at our Get Involved page. 


Incredibly grateful to have been on the @NSDFest Tech Team this past week, I’ve learned so much from everyone I’ve worked with. Before I came I didn’t even know what a quad spanner was, or how to tie a drape, or anything like that. It’s been exhausting at times but so worth it. Sophie Taylor-Hall | Technical Team 2019


The Festival Company

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.

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

Read more about our Festival Company here. We have got big plans for the Festival Company in 2020 - so watch out! 


What an experience @NSDFest has given me! Loved every second of the week and so honoured to attend. Learned a lot about my craft and why I’m doing it and for that I’m very grateful. Mohsin Khan | NSDF Company 2019