Our adjudicator answers your questions


You may remember just a few days ago we introduced our adjudicator for 2015: the lovely Sue Doherty.  You may also remember we asked if you had any questions for her. Well some of you did and here they are now with Sue’s responses. Take it away Sue!

Betty: Why do adjudicators give a synopsis of the play at the start of their adjudication when the audience have just seen it so they already know what the play was about and what happened? It seems like a waste of time (most adjudications are only about 10-15 mins long) when that time could be used to comment more on the actual performances and the play.

Sue: The introduction part of the adjudication is important as it gives me the opportunity to establish vital elements of the play. The chances are that the majority of the audience are unfamiliar with the text and  its background. It is my role to briefly establish the historical and social context of the play, themes, the playwright’s intention and the challenges of the piece. Also if it has been a complicated plot to reassure the audience they have understood the motives of the characters etc. In doing this the audience will, or should, appreciate the constructive comments about acting, direction etc.


DW: I am thinking about training as an adjudicator and was wondering if they get paid. If they do, is it a living wage? Can you do it full time or is it better to have a day job as well?

Sue: Training as an adjudicator is not as simple as you might think! The first step is to attend a taster day, which is held once a year. This gives you the opportunity to meet other aspiring adjudicators, listen to experienced speakers and take part in various workshops. This is followed by you watching a one act play and giving your opinion and marks to the group in an informal setting.  The next stage is to attend the selection weekend. Prior to this you have to submit three introductory essays to the selection panel. The weekend itself is demanding, intense and fast paced. The first day involves a written paper and an interview. In the evening you watch a full length play, during which you make notes on the performance. The following morning you go on stage and give your adjudication. For me this was quite traumatic as I have a phobia of moths. In the middle of my speech a giant moth kept bouncing of the stage lights and dived bombed round the stage. An excellent example of putting Circles of Concentration into practice!!  You then have to write up a written report and wait approx. a week to hear if you have been successful.  You do get paid, approx £75 a session plus expenses, but it is not a living wage! You are not allowed to advertise, so like an actor you wait for the phone to ring!


flashmob54: How do adjudicators deal with large cast shows? Do they pick and choose who to comment upon, or are they obliged to review all the actors’ performances?

Sue: When adjudicating a large cast it is a challenge. The important thing is how you all worked as an ensemble. Key scenes I would focus on and any individuals who stood out.


leeyum909: What if a play is rubbish? Are you honest?

Sue: As an adjudicator, my role is to judge the performance, not the quality of the script. I assess objectively, it is not about whether I liked it or not. I am there to give constructive advice, to inform the company, and the audience, on what I felt worked well and what can be done to improve.


That’s fantastic Sue. It’s really great to get an adjudicator’s eye-view of things.

We know that Sue’s a busy lady so finding time in a packed schedule to get back to us with those replies is hugely appreciated.

Thank you so much!


NEXT UP: The Athelstan Players – our reigning champions


If you have a story you’d like us to include here in our blog, or if there’s something you’d like us to write about, let us know at hj1act@gmail.com  So long as it’s festival/drama/local theatre centred, we’ll definitely give it a look!

Posted in 2015

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