About us

The Association of Drama Adjudicators was formed in 1989 and has always had members drawn from the Republic of Ireland and from Northern Ireland. The formation of the association was encouraged and welcomed by the ADCI, AUDF and ADL, and enjoys their continued support.

The aims of the association are:

  1. To bring a structured approach to the adjudication of drama, music and light entertainment competitions of all kinds.

  2. To protect the professional interests of its members and to provide a forum for furthering the expertise of members.

  3. To liaise, where appropriate, with other bodies, or persons, concerned with drama or entertainment.

  4. To promote the development of amateur theatre in Ireland.

Seminars, workshops, lectures and other educational activities are organised by the association for members (who are required as a condition of membership) to attend.

The ADA acts as a referral agency for festival organisers seeking qualified adjudicators and as an admissions body for aspiring adjudicators.

All enquiries should be made to the secretary:

Imelda Mc Donagh

Sea Bank
Co Wicklow

M: 353 (0)86 244 7599

E: secretaryada@gmail.com

Association Executive Committee

 Honorary Patron:

 President / Chair: Michael Poynor

Secretary: Imelda Mc Donagh

Treasurer: Ailbhe Garvey- Hughes

PRO: Aodh Mc Cay

Development Officer: Anna Walker

Committee: Alan Haslett

Emeritus Members

Emeritus members are long standing members of the association that have now retired from adjudication.  We recognise and thank  them for their huge contributions to adjudication over the course of many years.

Current Emeritus Members:

Christopher Fitz-Simon

Nora Relihan

Tom Honan

Kathleen Barrington

Pat Burke.

Michael Twomey





  1. A Selection Weekend will be advertised via the ADA website and national press (Irish Times?) and DLI (magazine and website) … emphasize ‘Ireland’s oldest association for adjudicators … supplying more adjudicators to the Irish Festivals than any other organization’.

  2. Expressions of interest will be made to the Secretary.

  3. All applicants will be issued with an application form.

  4. Completed application forms will be considered by the Sub-Committee, and those deemed to have relevant experience/potential, subject to approval by the Executive Committee, will be notified of dates of the next selection weekend and the format to be followed.

  5. Expressions of interest from experienced professionals, or professionals formally invited by existing ADA members, will be issued with application forms and may be accepted to membership after consideration by the ADA Committee and their majority agreement.


  1. The selection panel will consist of three experienced members of the Association and one invited representative from the festival movement, who will be non-voting.

  2. The selection process involves a number of stages, both theoretical and practical, during which the panel will be exploring, as thoroughly as possible, the candidate’s knowledge of drama and play production.

  3. The final part will be a test of the candidate’s ability to deliver a spoken and written adjudication of a performance that will be seen on the Saturday evening.

  4. The spoken adjudication should last for a maximum of twenty minutes and must not be read, although notes may be used.  It should cover each of the headings as outlined and should not omit any of the significant details described under each of the headings.

  5. The written adjudication may be written on the report form supplied in the ‘Selection Weekend Package’ (on the day) or may be printed from a computer.

  6. Marking is important and the system outlined in the notes should be used.  Care should be taken to ensure that marking is consistent with the assessment given in the spoken and written adjudication.


  1. The panel will use agreed ‘score sheets’ applying the same criteria to each candidate, and agree a ‘pass mark’.

  2. The final section of the ‘score sheet’ will be to score the written reports.  These will be completed within a week of the ‘Selection Week-end’, together with a brief (three lines) summing up of the candidate’s potential.

  3. Completed ‘Score Sheets’ will be sent to the Executive Committee for a final decision.  Any candidate who is deemed satisfactory by all Selection Panel members will be accepted for Associate Membership unless a member of the Executive has clear reason(s) why they should not be, in which case the matter will be resolved by simple majority voting.  Where there is not a unanimous recommendation from the Selection Panel, the Executive will make a decision.

  4. New Associate Members will be allocated a ‘Mentor’ whose role will be to attend at least two adjudications in each of the first two festivals adjudicated by the new member, and to invite the new member to the mentor’s own adjudications at festivals and then to discuss any matters arising.  Expenses incurred through this process will be defrayed by the Association.

  5. After two successfully completed festivals, the mentor will write a short report to the Committee with a recommendation that Full Membership should be implemented or that a further period of mentoring would be beneficial.

  6. Should the Mentor be of the opinion that the candidate is not suitable for continuing adjudication of festivals, the Executive will proceed as per the association’s constitution.