Practical Arrangements (prior to the Festival):

Members shall undertake to observe all the rules and conditions under which a particular festival is held. Members should ask festival organisers to provide them with a copy of the relevant rules.

Members should request that festival organisers print the letters ADA after the name of the adjudicator on posters, programmes, press releases and all promotional material relating to the festival.

Members are requested to submit their invoice, including travelling expenses, approximately one month in advance of the festival.

Fees and Expenses:

Fees are always a matter for negotiation between the festival organizer and an adjudicator. The fees provide for a public and private adjudication.

Fees for additional activities (e.g. playwriting competitions, school competitions, written report etc.) shall be a matter for agreement between an adjudicator and the festival.

Each year at the AGM of ADA, the minimum adjudicating fee is set, as is the travelling allowance.

Any free night during the festival (e.g. a bingo night) shall be paid for at a fee to be negotiated, subject to a minimum retainer fee of not less than 50% of the adjudicator’s agreed nightly rate.

All arrangements agreed between a festival and an adjudicator shall be confirmed in writing by both parties.

No member of the association may accept any engagement for adjudication on less than these minimum terms and conditions. In the event of such an offer of engagement being made to a member, it should be referred to the executive committee. The permission of the committee for any departure therefrom shall only be given in exceptional circumstances.

Festival Scripts: 

The adjudicator must have complete copies of the plays (showing clearly any cuts or additions a group may propose to make to the text) at least two weeks in advance of the festival. In order to comply with ADCI and AUDF rules, photocopies of plays in print and available are not acceptable, except for unpublished plays and out of print plays.

The adjudicator will return scripts to groups during the private adjudications, or on the final night of the festival.

During the Festival:

Ideally, a member of the Festival Committee will act as liaison with the adjudicator throughout the festival, arranging introductions to groups, escorting the adjudicator and arranging for the inspection of the stage and technical facilities.

The adjudicator’s seat should have an uninterrupted view of the stage, be provided with a table that allows sufficient room on which to work and accommodate papers, have a shaded light that can be easily turned on and off without distracting players or audience; ideally, a seat should be left vacant on either side of the adjudicator to avoid crowding and afford the adjudicator some privacy.

A programme should be provided and adjudicators should be advised of any changes to the cast of any production before its performance (All Festivals), or the running order of plays (One Act Festivals).

A list of awards should be provided on the first night of the festival at the latest.

The adjudicator should be provided with official marking sheets and a copy of the rules under which the festival is being run.

Hotel Accommodation with Breakfast and an Evening Meal should be arranged for the adjudicator reasonably near the festival venue. If there is no hotel within reasonable distance of the venue, other suitable accommodation may be arranged. It should be appreciated that the adjudicator both lives and works in the hotel room for the duration of the festival, so it is necessary that the room be adequately heated, equipped with a work table and desk lamp, and electrical points for laptops, etc.

Public and Private Adjudication:

Members should tailor the length of the public adjudication to facilitate the requirements of the festival organisers. The private adjudication should last for about 45 minutes for a full-length play and 10 minutes for a one-act play.

While each adjudicator’s style is distinctive, the public adjudication should be structured along the following lines:

The play and author

Presentation/set, lighting, sound, costumes and makeup



Summing up



If an adjudicator has to cancel an engagement, ADA shall suggest an alternative adjudicator, where available.

If a festival for which an adjudicator has been engaged is cancelled, the agreed fee is payable to the adjudicator.

Conflict of Interest:

No member shall be associated with any amateur drama group in any way that might result in a conflict of interest as an adjudicator.

It is the duty of a member where personal interest might be considered to bias judgement to give this information at once to the organisers of the festival.


Festival committees may occasionally feel that an adjudicator has given cause for complaint. They are invited to make an official complaint to the association IMMEDIATELY so that the matter may be investigated in the interests of the festival, the adjudicator, and the ADA. Complaints will only be accepted from festival committees or through the ADCI, AUDF, or the DLI. It should be appreciated that it is very difficult to deal with delayed complaints.