Supporting Alberta Amatuer Theatre

When the High School Drama Festivals were started in 1960, there was no parent body, so Mr. Jack McCreath started building a zone-to-zone level until it was possible to build to a provincial final in 1967. A Provincial High School Organization came into being and applied for grant assistance. However, by this time each zone had been receiving individual zone grants from the government for a number of years. Therefore, the H.S.F.A. was able to prosper on both the zone and adult levels.

A.D.F.A. has not been as fortunate. There was never in existence in this province any zone festival organization on the adult level. Communities sent plays to the Alberta Drama League final, with a winner being chosen to compete in the Dominion Drama Festival. The Alberta Drama League and D.D.F. became defunct, and the Drama Division of the Government of Alberta was asked to take on their festival function on the one-act level.

The Drama Division continued to do this until 1968 at which time Mr. Walter Kassa wisely recommended that the festival should be operated through an independent festival body organized outside the direct control of the Drama Division. After an organizational meeting and some fitful starts, the Alberta Drama Festival Association was incorporated in 1969.

Over the intervening years, the A.D.F.A. has experienced growth and setbacks. Money to fund the various activities has always been a problem. It has not always been easy. Through the support of the regions local communities, the efforts of many, the assistance of a yearly grant from the provincial association, the regions have grown in strength and vitality. We have seen the formation of new zones and numerous amateur community groups formed about the original impetus of participation in the festival. Thus, the provincial association has developed into a body united around the common goal of developing the participation of many in the cultural - human expression of theatre.

The Alberta Drama Festival Association (ADFA) is an umbrella organization for adult amateur drama activity in the province of Alberta. It was formed in 1969 to assume organization of the adult one-act drama festival formerly run by the Drama Division of Alberta Culture. ADFA is a non-profit association incorporated under the Societies Act of Alberta. There are no paid personnel. The executive and the regional associations are made up of individuals who have been chosen to donate their time and energy to the community theatre of this province.

The province has been divided into ten (10) regions. Within each region, various functions, workshops and activities are organized or developed. Each region has a committee who are autonomous and operate to encourage and develop the potential within their region. Each year the representatives from these regions organize a festival. From these festivals, one play is chosen by an adjudicator to represent each region at the Provincial One Act Festival. Each of those chosen plays receives traveling expenses or a grant to assist in funding their participation in the Provincial Festival.

The Provincial Festival is meant to be a non-competitive celebration of Drama. It provides an occasion for the coming together of all community drama groups in a festival situation. We have followed the practice of having one or two adjudicators at a festival. They publicly comment upon the performances and are available for more detailed private discussion with the individuals involved in performance. The adjudicators also select a play to represent Alberta at any National Festivals which may be held during the upcoming year.

Until 1976 the Provincial Festival was held yearly at the Banff School of Fine Arts. We found that due to the isolation of the location, needless expense, and assorted hassles, we would be better served by another location.

The Provincial Festival is held in a different region each year. This enables a greater number of people to attend the Festival as participants in performance or as an audience. With more participation, we are better able to achieve our goal of creating a memorable experience where people can grow and expand in their understanding of theatre. The region location also enables an extensive amount of donation and voluntary assistance in the planning, promotion, and operation of the yearly festival.

Beginning in 2006 participants in the winning play at the Provincial Festival were awarded the opportunity to attend sessions at the Theatre Alberta sponsored Dramaworks or PlayWorks Ink programs in Edmonton and Calgary. The tuition, travel and accommodation expenses for the participants is paid by ADFA.

The Provincial Festival was held in:

2013 High River 2002 Grande Prairie 1991 Spruce Grove  1982 Red Deer
2012 Camrose 2001 MedicineHat 1979 Red Deer  1981 Grande Prairie 
2011 Lethbridge 2000 Edmonton 1990 Lethbridge  1980 MedicineHat
2010 Whitecourt  1999 Calgary  1989 Whitecourt  1979 Red Deer
2009 Medicine Hat  1998 High River 1988 Calgary  1978 Lethbridge 
2008 Fort McMurray 1997 Whitecourt  1987 Red Deer   1977 Grande Prairie
2007 High River          1996 Medicine Hat       1986 Grande Prairie       1976 Medicine Hat  
2006 Edmonton 1995 Westlock 1985 Lethbridge    
2005 Lethbridge 1994 High River  1984 Fort McMurray   
2004 Hinton  1993 Red Deer 1983 Medicine Hat   
2003 High River  1992 Calgary 1982 Red Deer  






The executive of the association are a group of dedicated individuals who have committed their energies to represent their region. It operates to create the mechanism for the Regional and Provincial Festivals. It also serves as a meeting ground for an exchange of ideas and insights into dealing with all the problems and success of amateur theatre organizations in the province. Meetings are held to discuss, plan and encourage each other in the development and growth of dramatic activities in our respective regions.


ADFA and The Alberta Playwrights' Network are pleased to announce their partnership:


The Alberta Drama Festival Association is very pleased to be partnering with the Alberta Playwright's Network in in support of new work written by Alberta playwrights. Read More...