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About us

We exist to encourage the development of volunteer-led theatre arts in Scotland.

Our aims

To support and foster creativity

In performance and writing throughout Scotland.

To develop links and partnerships

Throughout the theatrical world and the voluntary sector.

To support members and clubs

In artistic, personal, and social development.

To act as an advocate

For the community and amateur theatre.

What we do

  • Organise and promote popular and successful festivals across the country.
  • Run playwriting competitions.
  • Offer training in all aspects of theatre including acting, set design and construction, and costume and make up.
  • Provide access to thousands of plays available on loan to members through our National Library in Summerhall, Edinburgh.

Our history

Founded in 1926
The SCDA came into being in 1926, after Geoffrey Whitworth, founder and director of the British Drama League in London, received an invite from the New York Little Theatre Movement to send out the best of British Drama to compete in their annual festival.
The inaugural team
To select this team the British Drama League initiated a festival of amateur drama and a way had to be found to include Scotland. Mr D Glen Mackemmie of the Scottish National Players, then issued an invitation to all British Drama League members in Scotland, to attend a meeting in Glasgow.
Executive committee appointed
This meeting appointed an executive committee charged with the organisation of a Scottish Festival in the winter of 1926/27. The persons responsible, or Founding Fathers as they were called were, Dr C Bernard Childs, Edinburgh (first Chairman), Mr D Glen Mackemmie, Glasgow, Mr Hal D Stewart, Glasgow and Mr Walter R Cuthbert, Dundee.
The competitions begin
In the early years the winning team from the Scottish Festival competed in London in the British Final. Excitingly in those days the winner of the Howard de Walden Cup from the British Festival was invited to go to New York to compete against the best of American amateurs.
Ardrossan & Saltcoats winners
Ardrossan & Saltcoats Players with 'The Old Lady Shows her Medals’ by J M Barrie won the British Finals and went on to bring back to Britain the David Belasco Cup from their win in New York. They had performed their play to over 55,000 people in Scotland, England, America and Canada. Incidentally it was reported that it cost their club £600 to compete in all these Finals – this was a lot of money those days!