what is nsdf?

NSDF is a festival for young people who love theatre, regardless of whether they’re in full-time education or not. We welcome anyone aged between 16 & 25 to attend the Festival.

The 2017 Festival will take place from the 8 to 14 April in Hull hosted by University of Hull and City of Culture.

what happens at the festival?

A lot!

Throughout the year, we're invited to see productions by young people from all over the country. Our selection team then programme a number of these shows for the Festival and we present them to the Festival audience every afternoon and evening.

In the mornings you'll have the opportunity to attend workshops. We programme a really diverse range; whether you're an actor, techie, director, producer, writer or stage manager there will be something for you, every day. These workshops are led by visiting artists who are all industry professionals. We publish the programme to our website a week before the Festival, with a two day browsing period before the booking system goes live, allowing you to take your time over what you'll do!

There's a daily discussion where we talk about the productions you've seen at the Festival and host panels and open forums on wider cultural, social and political issues like the lack of diversity in the arts, and how we take care of ourselves and each ther and talk about our mental health.

Budding critics can write for Noises Off, our festival magazine. The editorial team accepts contributions all day, every day from the Saturday of the festival week and publishes both online and hard copy versions at the end of each day. Everybody is able to write for NOFF, regardless of experience.

Late night events include a Disco, a Quiz and an Open Mic night and the bar stays open 'til late. In the bar you'll be able to meet and mingle with other companies, FestGoers and visiting artists in a relaxed and friendly environment. 

how can I get involved?

There are loads of ways to get involved in NSDF. Whether you want to enter a show, apply to join the Management Team, apply to join the Technical Team, write for Noises Off or just come along; there is information all of the different elements of the festival below. 



we want to enter a show - what does it involve?

Entering a show gives you and your company the chance to perform at the Festival. If you enter a show and give us three weeks notice, we will send a member of our selection team to wherever you are in the country.

We actively encourage and welcome cross gender and ethnically diverse casting choices.

I've entered a show - what next?

After you have entered your show and paid your entry fee, you will receive an automated email confirming receipt of your entry. 

We'll then email you once we've allocated a member of the Selection Team to come and see your production. They'll attend the show and offer you feedback afterwards, and they'll tell us all about it in February.

When a Selector has been assigned to you, you will receive an email letting you know who will be attending and which performance. You will also receive a document outlining the selection process in full. If you have any questions or concerns at this stage, you can discuss them with Joseph, our Administrator.

A few days before the performance, you will be sent a selection schedule. This will outline where and when you should meet your selector as well as the relevant contact information for the selector and festival office. The schedule also acts as a cross check to make sure all of the information you provided us with, like venue and running time, is correct.

I want to enter a musical/devised piece/immersive piece not a play - is this okay?

Yes! We will see any performance whatever the genre or the venue requirements.

In the past four years, we have seen an opera, many musicals, dance shows, physical theatre, site specific and responsive, shows that can only play to a very small audience. In fact, one show that was at the 2013 Festival could only play to an audience of seven. At the 2015 Festival, we sourced a Victorian house with 11 rooms to be the venue for a site-specific version of The Nutcracker.

So don't worry - enter. And if for some surprising reason we cannot consider it – you will be reimbursed straight away. But we are always on the end of the telephone to talk it through.

how does the selection process work?

Our selection team see over 100 shows throughout the year - from the day after one Festival to one or two days before selection day for the next. They feedback face to face with the companies and then they feedback to us in the office.
We have an interim selection day in December and we let any shows know if they have not been longlisted. We then meet with our selection team, eat a great deal of cake, and decide which shows will be selected for the Festival. The decision is based on which we think are the best shows we have seen. We do not curate a theme for the Festival; we celebrate the talent we have seen. We also select individuals who we think are particularly talented and invite them to be part of the Festival Company. There is more information about this below. 
Who is in the Selection Team?

The Selectors are all professional actors, directors and writers with a passion for the festival. You can see the full team here.

When is Selection Day?

Selection day is February 19th 2017.

If my show is selected - what are the costs involved?

Every member of your company will be required to pay £120. This covers everything at the festival except your accommodation, travel, food and living expenses. It is a contribution to the staging of the festival, the cost of all the workshops and all other events.

It works out at £17.14 per person per day. We try and keep the costs as low as possible.

If my show isn't selected can I still attend the Festival?

Yes! You can buy a ticket and come along. You'll have access to all workshops, shows, discussions and events. You can also apply to join the Technical Team or Management Team.

what are the costs?

to enter a show: it is £98 which is around a third of our costs and helps towards the selector fee, train and accommodation and includes a feedback session for the whole company after the show.

The ticket prices for the different teams and groups at NSDF17 can be found here.

what are the deadlines?

You can enter a show at any time ahead of the performances but we ask for a three week notice period from entry to seeing the show.

Selection Day will be February 19th. The last day we can see a show for the 2017 Festival will be Friday 17th February.

Applications for the Technical and Management Teams are now open. The deadline to apply is December 31st.

There is information below about buying tickets here, and the deadline for buying a subscription ticket will be announced soon.

I'm not a student - can I come to the festival?

Anyone aged 16 to 25 years old can come to the festival, whether they're a student or not. If you are older than that but a mature student in full or part time education then you can still come.

I'm a teacher - how do I bring a group to the festival?

School groups are an important part of our Festival community. For more information on how to get your school group involved, click here. If you'd like to talk it through in more detail, email [email protected], or call the office.

what is the festival company?

Once the shows are selected we also consider individuals of all different disciplines who we have seen as part of the selection process. If their show has not been selected but we think they are particularly dedicated and talented we offer up places in the festival company. Their ticket is the same cost as for members of the Selected Shows and they are offered bespoke workshops at the festival in addition to the main workshops programme.
If you join the Company, there are no restrictions on what you can do at the festival - it is access all areas the same as everyone else. You get to see all the shows, do workshops and attend all the other events.

what is the technical team?

The Technical Team make the Festival happen; they build the venues, tech and support the shows and help create all the live events.
The team is made up of at least 11 professionals including our Technical Director David Graham who leads and trains the team of 60.

Depending on your experience you will be appointed to roles ranging from being a member of the Crew, to Venue Manager or maybe an Assistant to the Heads of Department. It is an on the job training with a range of workshops led by a variety of organisations. 

Check out the 2017 professional Technical Team

what is the management team?

The Management Team help us produce the Festival; managing the venues, workshops and front of house. The team is headed up by three Managers - usually members of the team who have been to the Festival before. The Managers run a team each:

1. Front of House and Box Office

2. Venues

3. Workshops

We draw up a rota so that the team members can attend workshops and see as many shows as possible.

As a member of the team, you'll have the opportunity to attend bespoke workshops on producing, events management and starting your career in the arts.




what is noises off?

It's the festival magazine. It publishes online and a hard copy every day. Noises Off is led by professional journalists. They support you when you contribute reviews and articles and they also write their own reviews and commentary about everything at the festival. They want as much as you can give them - including photos, video, graphics, drawings and cartoons. Noises Off is the maverick of the festival.

what happens in a normal day?

As a guide; the basic daily timetable will be as follows: (* times subject to change).


12 noon to 4pm Registration

1.30pm Lunch for Technical and Management Teams and Guests*

5pm Induction to the Festival by the Director.

6pm Supper for Technical and Management Teams and Guests*

7.30pm onwards Shows*

Sunday to Thursday

10 am to 1pm Workshops

1.30pm Lunch for Technical and Management Teams and Guests*

3pm Discussions

4.30pm Shows

6pm Supper for Technical and Management Teams and Guests*

7.30pm onwards Shows*

Late Night Events including Quiz  |  Dance  | Open Mic


10 am to 1pm Workshops

1.30pm Judges' Lunch and Lunch for Technical and Management Teams and Guests*

3pm Discusssion

6pm Supper for Technical and Management Teams and Guests*

8pm (until very late ) Awards Ceremony and Party

can you recommend places to stay in hull?

We will publish information on accommodation soon.

Many Festgoers find it cheaper to rent a house for the week, so websites like airbnb.com and booking.com can be very useful.

If you have other questions please email Joseph at [email protected] or give us a call on 020 7036 9027.