|AdminHistory||The National Student Drama Festival (or NSDF) was founded in 1956 by the Sunday Times arts columnist Kenneth Pearson, the Sunday Times theatre critic Harold Hobson, and National Union of Students president Frank Copplestone. Pearson became the organisation's first artistic director. Early supporters also included Sunday Times Editor Harry Hodson and Professor Glynne Wickham, a leading pioneer of the academic discipline of drama based at the University of Bristol.|
NSDF is an annual festival of theatre from young people across the country. It is for anyone aged between 16 - 25. 14 productions are presented, selected through the year from across the country. There are over 100 workshops, led by practitioners and industry professionals from leading theatre companies (such as Frantic Assembly, Complicite, and the RSC), drama schools (such as LAMDA, Rose Bruford and Bristol Old Vic), and independent artists (such as Chris Thorpe, Alexandra Spencer Jones, Project O, Tinuke Craig and Brigitte Aphrodite). The festival is supported by 60 young people on the technical team, providing hands on experience and training and 30 on the management team, developing skills in producing, venue and FoH management and arts administration.
A daily magazine, Noises Off, written by FestGoers, both online and in print is also a key part of the festival. Late night entertainment, like the Cabaret (where anyone at the Festival can perform), parties and a pub quiz. An important part of the festival is providing relaxed social spaces long into the evening, where students can meet and talk with each other and network with the visiting artists and professionals.
The main NSDF donors to the TC have been Clive and Pat Wolfe. Clive was Director of the National Student Drama Festival from 1970 to 2000, and Festival President until his passing in 2014. His widow Pat Wolfe has also been involved with the NSDF since the early 1970s in various roles, and in 2018 she remains President. She is also involved with the National Student Theatre Company and Springboard Theatre Company.