The Hereford County Drama Festival has had a long and prestigious history. Last year, however, it looked like the Festival would be no more. Dwindling audiences and limited entries had meant that the Festival was becoming unviable financially. Thanks to the timely generosity of the Market Theatre, Ledbury in placing their facilities at the disposal of the Festival organisers it has been possible for the HCDF to continue for at least another year.

A first hurdle which has now been successfully negotiated was to ensure that sufficient entries to the Festival were obtained. This has been achieved with an abundance of one act plays being offered – 13 in all. Productions will be coming from right across the county: Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury, Norbury, Hereford, Eardisley, Orleton and even from abroad – well Monmouth actually. All of which has enabled the Festival organisers to arrange not only three evenings of excellent theatre but also to offer a matinee session on the Saturday of the Festival.

Not only is HCDF an important element of Hereford’s cultural life, it also acts as a gateway to the All England Theatre Festival being one of the official first rounds of that competition. Last year’s HCDF winner – Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society’s entry, Nick Warburton’s ‘The Last Bread Pudding’ directed by Ben Mowbray – made it to the semi-finals of the competition.

Now all that is needed is an audience. A lot of hard work is devoted to bringing these plays to the stage but the unique element of every performance is the people in the auditorium.

The full Festival will take place at The Market Theatre, Ledbury on March 8, 9 and 10 – evening sessions from 7pm and the Saturday matinee from 2pm. Tickets are now on sale at the theatre’s website – a single session ticket is priced at £8, with great value combination tickets for more than one session or the whole festival.