THE annual Durham Drama Festival is set to take to the stage later this month in three exciting venues across Durham city.

The week-long celebration of new writing, created by Durham University students and is part of the city’s rich cultural scene, will take place from January 30 until February 6 – in what will be the 48th edition of the event for Durham.

Made up of eight brand new full-length productions, the festival will involve over 100 students in various roles from actors to directors and technical operators.

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This year’s programme includes work from international students and settings from Shanghai to Italy and Austria to Hungary.

Performances include Beautiful Nothing a one-woman show, that explores sexuality and gender, and Cottage; a dark comedy that delves into one of the most shameful yet thrilling parts of queer history.

Also showcasing at the Festival is The Children of Yesterday; a 20th century historical drama, covering both the space of Europe and the tumultuous time between 1870 and 1952.

The Northern Echo: Assembly Rooms Theatre, Durham. Picture: DURHAM UNIVERSITY.Assembly Rooms Theatre, Durham. Picture: DURHAM UNIVERSITY.

The festival, which is organised by Durham Student Theatre, is made up of 26 different theatre companies, and is one of the largest student theatre societies in the country.

The plays in the festival will be judged by a panel of industry professionals. including actor John Schwarb, best known for his film and television roles including Dark Money (2019) "The Queen's Gambit" (2020) and local playwright Christina Castling, who has won Trinity College London’s International Playwriting Competition.

Script editor Micheál Jacob, who has worked in television comedy for twenty years, and writer and director Alexandra Spencer Jones, who is Artistic Director of the theatre company ‘Action to the Word’ complete the judging panel.

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Festival director, Jodie Sale, said: “Everyone has been working hard since September to pull off a week of high standard, professional theatre across Durham City. The talent on show in the writing, directing, producing and acting of all these shows is astounding.”

Durham Drama Festival 2022 launches on January 30 with an event showcasing different styles of student writing comprising of poetry, short play extracts, classical adaptations and sketch comedy, including a guest appearance from nationally renowned sketch troupe The Durham Revue. 

The festival also includes a series of workshops hosted by the judges and concludes with an awards ceremony in Durham University’s Hatfield College. 

The Northern Echo: Image from previous Durham Student Theatre production. Picture: DURHAM UNIVERSITY.Image from previous Durham Student Theatre production. Picture: DURHAM UNIVERSITY.

Performances will take place at The Assembly Rooms Theatre, The Hub at Mount Oswald, and the Mark Hillery Arts Centre in Collingwood College. Tickets are available online and advanced booking is recommended.

Each play will also be filmed, so that anyone who can’t make it a live performance will be able to watch the shows online after the festival.

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