All-England Theatre Festival Ticket Buying Guide

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All-England Theatre Festival Ticket Buying Guide

Whether someone is a long-time theatre lover or someone new to theatre, an individual may want to consider attending the All-England Theatre Festival. This festival has a long history in England and has been putting on shows for almost 100 years. The organisation puts on one-person shows throughout the country that allow members of amateur theatre groups to hone their skills. The festivals are held in a variety of locations around the country. There are four divisions, which are further divided into smaller regions with multiple festivals taking place in each region.

Those who are interested in attending a festival are probably also interested in finding out about what kind of acts are performed at these festivals. When buying festival tickets, one should consider how early it is necessary to purchase tickets. Additionally, frequent theatre attendees may also want to check out the membership programmes that the organisation offers as a way to stay connected and on top of events.

History of the All-England Theatre Festival

The All-England Theatre Festival is an organisation that dates back to 1919, which is when the British Drama League was first formed. The League's inauguration dates back to June 22 of that year at the Theatre Royal. A strong interest in writing developed after this, and the group attracted many scholars. By 1923, there were more than 360 affiliated societies, including both professional and amateur groups. In 1938, the first final of the National Festival was held outside of London with Scotland participating. After World War II, the organisation began to change somewhat as more festivals developed, and in 1947, the first England-only final festival was held. Over time, the All-England Theatre Festival took over handling the competition, and now they are in charge of the entire event.

What Is the All-England Theatre Festival?

The All-England Theatre Festival puts on a country-wide, elimination contest for one-act plays that are performed all over England. It is a six-month-long competition that is one of the most important competitions for amateur drama in England. It gives hundreds of amateur performers the chance to improve their skills and provides an enjoyable experience for viewers. The number of festivals that participate does change somewhat over the years as new festivals start and some fade away. Additionally, sometimes the All-England Theatre Festival offers special events, such as the recent Shakespeare-themed event.


Those who want to purchase tickets to the festival should know that it is held in a number of different locations around the U.K., including the Western Area, Eastern Area, Central Area, and Northern Area. These four areas are also divided into smaller subdivisions. The winners of each event keep on moving up to compete with winners of other divisions. Additionally, the winner of the England final goes on to compete at other festivals in Wales and Scotland.

Western Area

The Western Area is divided into the Central, Southern, and Western Divisions. The Central Division is broken down into the Bristol Drama Festival, Avon Drama Festival, Harold Joliffe One Act Play Festival, Somerset County Drama Festival, and Cheltenham One Act Play Festival. The Western Division includes the Cornwall Festival, Exmouth Festival, and Teignmouth Festival. The Southern Division includes the Dorese Drama League and the Totton Drama Festival.

Eastern Area

The Eastern Area is further divided into the North, South, East, and West Divisions. The North Division includes the Cambridge Festival and the Bedford Drama Festival. The festivals in the South Division include the Elmbridge Festival and the Southern Counties Drama Festival, while the ones in the East Division are the Southend Festival and the Waltham Forest Festival of Theatre. The Maidenhead Drama Festival is the only one in the West Division.

Central Area

The Central Area is divided into the Central and Western Divisions. The festivals located in the Central Division include the Tamworth Hastilow Festival, Stoke-on-Trent Annual One Act Festival, Warwickshire Play Festival, and Leicester and Rutland Festival. The Western Division's festivals include the Hereford County Festival, Shropshire Drama Festival, Birmingham's Festival of Acting and Musical Entertainment, and Worcester Theatre Festival.

Northern Area

The Northern Area is divided into the North West, North Central, and North East Divisions. The festivals in the North West Division include the West Pennine District festival, Cumbria District Festival, Merseyside Preliminary Round, and Manx Amateur Drama Foundation One Act Play Festival. The Richmond Festival and the Nidderdale and District Drama Festival are the festivals in the North Central Division. The North East Division includes the Saltburn '53 Festival as well as the Hull and East Riding District Festival.

Types of Performances

Those who are considering purchasing tickets to one of these festivals may want to know about the different types of performances they might see. Festival goers can be treated to a wide variety of content. Some of the most common acts that were put on in 2012 were pieces from Nick Warburton, David Tristram, and David Foxton. It is not surprising that Shakespeare was another popular choice for competitors. Some of the most popular plays used in 2012 were The Red Balloon by Damian Trasler and From Shakespeare with Love by Jonathan Dorf.

Buying Tickets

When someone is buying tickets, it is always a good idea to purchase them early. A buyer should figure out what performances he or she wants to attend in advance. If someone is a passionate theatre enthusiast who is looking to attend many festivals, he or she may want to check out the membership packages. On a seasonal basis, tickets can be purchased through local ticket outlets and online on ticketing sites and aggregator sites like eBay.

Festivals and Seating

The organisation has a list of dates for the different festivals on its website, and it is a good idea for any theatre enthusiast to review this information before deciding on a festival to attend. It may be harder to get tickets for festivals that host the more advanced levels of the competition, so it would be best to start searching for those tickets much earlier. A buyer is also better off searching for tickets early in order to get good seats.

Festival Membership

As an organisation, the All-England Theatre Festival offers membership opportunities to the public. The organisation offers a number of membership plans, including individual annual membership, family annual membership, group annual membership, and associate annual membership. Patrons are a separate category. Membership benefits include direct mailing of the annual report, festival brochure, AETF colour newsletter, and membership card, plus discounts on tickets for the AETF quarter-finals, semi-finals, and English final. Additionally, patrons receive acknowledgement in the English Final programme as well as hospitality perks at the English Final.



Individual Annual Membership

Includes one person at one address

Family Annual Membership

Includes two individuals at the same address

Group Annual Membership

Any drama group or society

Associate Annual Membership

Any organisation that represents more than one group or society

This can be a great way for a theatre lover to stay in touch with what is going on and attend a variety of performances. At the same time, membership allows someone to support the amateur arts.

Finding All-England Theatre Festival Tickets on eBay

If you are looking for tickets to an All-England Theatre Festival during festival season, try some of the search options offered by eBay. One of the easiest things you can do is start with a keyword search. With this search, you just type keywords, such as 'festival ticket' into the search box. If you think that there are too many results for you to browse through, you can try to narrow down your search by selecting some of the categories or filters.

You may also want to check out some of the other features offered by eBay. For instance, the contact a seller feature lets you contact the seller to ask questions. It is located on the product page. You might want to find out more about a ticket's seat location, for instance. Additionally, you can also check out the feedback feature, which lets you read feedback given by other buyers.


Whether one loves to regularly attend the theatre or is just starting to become a fan, he or she may enjoy attending a performance at one of these festivals. The All-England Theatre Festival organisation dates back almost a century, but the history of the festival and its amateur, one-act play competition has changed over the years. The festivals that participate in the competition are held in a variety of locations all over England, so a fan should be able to find a participating festival nearby.

When buying tickets, viewers should keep a number of things in mind, such as when to purchase tickets for a specific festival and whether a buyer needs to select seating for a festival. Additionally, if someone is looking to attend a number of festivals, he or she may want to enroll in one of the membership programmes offered by the organisation in order to get the best deals and benefits. Attending an All-England Theatre Festival can be a great experience that leads to visitors going back for more again and again.

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