Jeannie Van Rompaey

How to become a drama adjudicator

How to become a drama adjudicator?


Ask yourself if you have the necessary qualifications and experience in theatre to present an informed opinion on productions of plays in all genres.


Qualifications may include attendance at drama school or the possession of a degree or other qualification in theatre studies.


It is important to have seen lots of plays, both professional and amateur.


Experience of being a member of an amateur dramatic society is helpful in understanding the particular problems of putting on amateur productions.


Experience of being on stage, backstage and directing a play is an advantage, whether as an amateur or a professional.


One of your skills must be public speaking.


Attend as many drama festivals as possible and listen to adjudicators.


You do not have to belong to an organisation such as the Guild of Drama Adjudicators – GODA – but it can be an advantage in getting work and in learning the skills of adjudication. Scotland, Wales and Ireland have similar organisations but as a member of GODA, I so will confine my comments to the one I know most about.


GODA runs a weekend course most years to give a taste of what being an adjudicator entails to would be adjudicators. Senior GODA adjudicators give talks on adjudication. You see a play and are offered a chance to flex your adjudication muscles in an unthreatening atmosphere within a group of your peers.


If you feel comfortable with this weekend you can apply to attend a Selection Weekend, during which there will be more talks, a personal interview and a visit to a theatre to see a play for you to adjudicate. The panel, made up of members of the Guild and a festival organiser, will then decide if you are likely to make the grade as an adjudicator. If you are successful, you will subsequently be invited to be an associate member of GODA.


Associate members are given an experienced member as a mentor and he/she will act as an adviser during your first adjudications.


Go with your mentor to the festivals he/she is adjudicating and introduce yourself to the organisers. Continue to attend as many festivals as possible, also the GODA AGM and the Festivals Conference, where you can introduce yourself to other adjudicators and festival organisers. Networking!


When you have done at least six adjudications, you can ask to be appraised in the hope of becoming a full member of the Guild. An experienced adjudicator will come to one night of a subsequent adjudication, write a report on you and submit it to the Council. If you are successful you will be invited to become a full member of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators.


Please note that the Guild of Adjudicators do not give jobs to member adjudicators. Most work is by referral or because a festival organiser has seen your work. GODA does provide a directory of members, updated every year. The directory is distributed to drama festivals and any interested parties.


Associate and full members of GODA are not allowed to advertise, but as most British and European festivals employ GODA members because they trust them, it is definitely an advantage to be a member.


For more information about the Guild of Drama Adjudicators, you can send for the Directory from the Honorary Secretary, Mrs. Joan Crossley, 25 the Drive, Bengeo, Hertford, Herts SG14 3DE and/or go the website on