Palace Theatre,
Palace Avenue,
Paignton TQ3 3HF
Box Office: 01803 665800

Chairman and Entries Secretary:
Mrs Linda Lear,
6 Thorne Park Road,
Torquay TQ2 6RX
Tel: 01803 607672 Email: Linda@Lear20.eclipse.co.uk

Trophy Steward:
Jennifer Bald,
Cricketfield Road,
Torquay TQ2 7NP
Email: jenniferbald@btinternet.com

Speech Committee:
Mrs Delia Bowman, Mrs Wendy Caplan, Miss Jill Farrant, Mrs Sarah Northway


The Adjudicators’ Council of the British & International Federation of Festivals has endorsed the following statement with regard to the use of action and gesture in verse speaking: Illustrative actions and movement rarely ever enhance a performance. However, gesture that adds understanding, appreciation and an emotional response to the interpretation of the text is not only acceptable but welcome. It is being selective and discerning in the use of gesture that is so often the issue in enhancing the successful performance.


The Festival experience differs from the examination situation in that it offers candidates the opportunity to perform on a public stage in front of a paying audience. The Adjudicator will therefore look for a complete performance, which includes attention to dress, entrances and exits, announcing, and acknowledging both applause and, where appropriate, the Accompanist.

Please read our general festival rules on our GENERAL RULES page. 

Supplementary Rules for Verse Speaking and Drama:

S1. The Torbay and South West of England Festival has entered into an agreement with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society. This means that entrants do not have to seek copyright permission for any poetry, prose or solo dramatic items* performed to a time limit of 10 minutes.

Performers and teachers will be delighted to know that their participation in this Festival means that authors will be directly reimbursed as a consequence of their works being performed at this Festival.

Drama duologues and group dramatic activity are not covered by this agreement, and copyright permission for these items should be sought by performers at the time of entry.

*Please note: dramatic items must be announced with title and author at the time of performance to qualify for copyright indemnity, and the performer must not change the words or gender of the character.

S2. Competitors may enter classes for a higher age group. The entry fee for these classes applies, not the age of the competitor.

S3. Choral Speaking groups must not number fewer than 10 persons.

S4. When submitting entry forms the title and author of own choice pieces must be clearly stated for inclusion in the programme. Where this rule is not complied with the entry becomes void.

S5. Competitors in own choice classes must not offer items with which they have won any class at this Festival in the previous three years.

S6. None of the set poems for the current year may be used as own choice pieces.

S7. No competitor may enter more than once in any solo class. In other classes multiple entries are permitted as long as the individual competes with a different partner(s).

S8. Teachers will be sent a programme as soon as possible after the closing date, which will indicate the approximate time for each class. Private entrants will receive a class card. Performers and other interested parties are requested to be in the auditorium at least 20 minutes before the time for their class to allow for the programme running early.

S9. Free entrance is granted to adult competitors only during the session in which they are performing. Teachers who have entered students into the Festival will receive a Teachers’ Pass. Parents and other interested parties are not entitled to be admitted without a valid ticket.

S10. Copies of own choice pieces should be submitted with the entry form. Those who fail to produce a copy for the Adjudicator may be penalised. All copies must have the competitor’s name, class number, and entry number in the class clearly stated at the top. Background tapes should be marked in the same way.

S11. Original material: a full written copy must be submitted to the steward as per rule

S10. It must be original and the candidate’s own work. Marks awarded will reflect content, literary style and presentation appropriate to the age group.

S12. Performers should let us know at the time of entry whether material that may give offence (subject matter, strong language, etc) is to be used, so that the class may be appropriately programmed and the audience advised.

S13. Any entry exceeding the time limit set for performance will either have marks deducted, be terminated, or be made void, at the discretion of the Adjudicator.

Candidates may, if they wish, offer a short introduction to set the scene, which will not be included in the time limit.

S14. In drama classes, reading of lines, either on or off stage, is not acceptable without a valid reason being given, either to the committee or the Adjudicator’s steward, in advance of the class.

S15. Costume and properties: costumes must not be worn in any class. In drama classes, long practice skirts, which give freedom of movement, may be used, together with small items such as scarves, hats, shawls, gloves, canes, etc. Tables, chairs and hand props are permitted.

S16. Cups and trophies will be awarded to winners obtaining 84 marks or more. Medals will be awarded to the winners of all solo and duologue classes, whatever the mark obtained. Cups, trophies and medals will be awarded at the end of each class.

S17. Certificates and Adjudication sheets will be available approximately 15 minutes after the adjudication of each class. These must be collected during the Verse and Drama section of the Festival. Those remaining will be destroyed unless an sae has been provided.

S18. All communications should be sent to

Mrs Linda Lear,

6 Thorne Park Road,

Torquay TQ2 6RX.

These must be accompanied by an sae for reply, if necessary.


It has been brought to our attention that we may not be covered by the blanket copyright agreement in respect of music/songs from shows in current production, and as a result teachers/performers may have to obtain their own licence for such items from Phonographic Performance Ltd.

The latest situation is that ‘songs from the shows’ may be performed as a song without movement, i.e. as a concert item, not in costume or using any props that would identify the performer with the show – e.g. ragged clothes for the Artful Dodger or painted whiskers for Cats. Whilst this agreement is fine for the singers in the Music section of our Festival, it has grave implications for dancers and could affect mime and personal programme classes in our Speech section. Teachers are advised, if they have any queries, to contact the Festival Chairman, before applying or paying for a licence from Phonographic Performance Ltd.

*** It’s your Festival. Get involved! ***

We need a Cup Steward. This once-a year job is essential to the smooth running of the Festival.

We also need someone with basic computer skills to handle our entries and help produce our programme, etc.

Contact Linda Lear on 01803 607672 or linda@lear20.eclipse.co.uk


The Torbay and South West of England Festival holds data solely for the purpose of running the Festival. Personal data will not be disclosed to third parties without the express permission of the data subject unless such disclosure is to enable the Festival to fulfil its constitutional purpose.