Brendan O'Brien, Secretary of the All-Ireland Amateur Drama Festival explains how the first event was organised in Athlone.

The idea for this festival came from the National Council of An Tóstal, a network of local festivals, who called a meeting of ten of the major drama committees in the country, and put forward the idea of a national drama competition. All were in agreement, and a sub-committee in Athlone was asked to organise the event.

The rules stated that up to five amateur drama groups from each of these ten large festivals could be nominated, with five distinct categories in the competition (two or more acts open, two or more acts rural, one-act plays open, one-act rural and verse plays).

The first All-Ireland Amateur Drama Festival was held at the the Sprotex Hall in Athlone in April 1953, Such was the interest from amateur theatre groups that,

For the last ten days thirty groups from these festivals had been competing.

The adjudicators were noted actress Maureen Delaney, theatre critic and actor Gabriel Fallon and playwright and theatrical producer Lennox Robinson.

From 'Tóstal Magazine' recorded 21 April 1953. The reporter is Brendan O'Brien.

From the RTÉ Archives Acetate Disc Collection which has been digitised with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) Archiving Scheme.