The Barn Theatre,
25 Bluehouse Lane, Oxted, Surrey
RH8 0AA.

Tel: 01959 561811
Email: barntheatre


Southern Counties Drama Festival


Theatre Info


Around the Barn



** SCDF is delighted to announce that John Simmons, past Betchworth Festival Chairman has agreed to take on the role of Patron following the retirement of Nicholas Owen**

2024 Festival Report

The Southern Counties Drama Festival 2025

The Festival will take place from 24th February - 1st March 2025 and will be adjudicated by Martin Parr G.o.D.A. Associate

If you wish to be part of this 'fun' festival you can obtain more information by contacting:

The Secretary
Southern Counties Drama Festival
15a High Street
TN16 1RA

or more information can be gained from the brochure.

Telephone 01959 561811 or e-mail

Festival Entry Forms      Forms B, C, D & E

Festival Rules

Festival Guidance Notes for Directors & Stage Managers

Barn Theatre Stage Plan

Barn Theatre Lighting Plan

2024 Festival Entries

Southern Counties Drama Festival (Betchworth) Awards

The winner of the Southern Counties Drama Festival will go on to perform at the All-England Theatre Festival Eastern Area Final which will take place at
Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead (Carol Hennessy; on ? 2025. The winner of that round will perform at the All-England Theatre Festival English Final at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight, Wirral on 7th June 2025 and the winner of the English Final will go on to perform at the British Final at the the Garrick Theatre Lichfield on 4th & 5th July 2025

The Southern Counties Drama Festival

John Simmons: Patron
Diana Drysdale: Patron

The Southern Counties Drama Festival (previously The Betchworth Festival) has been an important part of local amateur dramatics in Surrey and Kent for a great many years. Traditionally, the venue had moved around with different groups hosting the event each year but as time moved on standards of technical facilities were found lacking in some of these venues, which were after all, in the main, church halls hurridly converted for theatre use on the morning of the technical rehearsals. In 1989 the festival was at risk of being cancelled due to a lack of a suitable venue with technicians and the Barn Theatre Trustees boldly offered to provide both a venue and an independent annual festival with technicians supplied, not only for that year but on a permanent basis, putting a Committee in place comprised of Barn Theatre Trustees and other interested and committed people.The festival was a success and since that time the Barn has been home to the Betchworth Festival, now renamed the Southern Counties Drama Festival, as a Barn initiative under the auspices of the Festival Committee.

There was no festival in 2006 and the Festival Committee indicated an unwillingness to carry on for 2007, which put the future of the festival at risk. However, the Barn Trustees, under the leadership of the Artistic Director, Martin Patrick, quickly assembled an enthusiastic and experienced team to fulfil the committee obligations and relaunch the SCDF.

The All-England Theatre Festival

The All-England Theatre Festival has a history dating back to 1919 when the British Drama League was formed. By June 1923 there were 360 affiliated societies which included amateur and professional bodies.

In 1926 professionals were expressing concern that the rapid growth of amateur drama was likely to cause problems with too many people trying to enter an already overcrowded profession. This interest had started a British 'Festival of Community Drama' which was used to find an entry for the American New York Little Theatre Tournament. Other aspects of the League's work included the making of a substantial contribution to the Stratford-on-Avon Memorial Theatre, visits to Europe to help establish festivals and the organisation of summer schools.

In 1938 the final of the National Festival was held outside London for the first time, following the invitation of the Scottish Community Drama Association. Entries had totalled 602. The war brought a significant reduction in the League's membership but activities continued as best they could throughout. The emphasis changed somewhat to encourage Youth Clubs and military units for educational purposes.

After the war the regions started to organise their own festivals and the First England only Final was held in 1947. The organisation of subsequent annual Finals eventually became the remit of the All-England Theatre Festival.

How it works...

The All-England Theatre Festival organises an eliminating series of festivals which leads ultimately to the English final.

The winner of the English Final goes on to compete against the winners of similar festivals in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

England is divided into four Areas for the purposes of this Festival: Northern, Central, Eastern and Western.

Each Area is divided into a number of Divisions according to the size and/or history of the individual Areas.

Past Festival Newsletters and Reports

Newsletter - July 07

2009 Festival Report

2010 Festival Report

2011 Festival Report

2012 Festival Report

2013 Festival Report

2014 Festival Report

2015 Festival Report

2015 AETF Eastern Area Final Report

2016 Festival Report

2017 Festival Report

2017 AETF Eastern Area Final Report

2018 Festival Report

2019 Festival Report

2020 Festival Report

2022 Festival Report

2023 Festival Report