2018 Dates and Venues

Music Classes              05 March – 09 March 2018

To be held in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Church Hall, 7 Church Street, Dungannon BT71 6AB.

Access for the disabled to St Anne’s Church Hall is from Church Street via the side door of the Church. 

Speech Classes           12 March – 16 March 2018

To be held in Dungannon Presbyterian Church Halls, 53A Scotch Street, Dungannon BT70 1BD

British and International Federation of Festivals

We are proud to be a member of The British and International Federation of Festivals. More information here.

Child Protection Policy

The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech work for amateur festivals everywhere to help create thousands of educational performance opportunities for children and young people each year.

The Federation, and our member Festivals, are committed to ensuring safe environments for children and young people and believe that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind. We recognise our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to recommend best practice which protects them.

This policy applies to our Board of Trustees, paid staff, Adjudicator members, volunteers, students or anyone working on behalf of the Federation and our member Festivals.

We recognise that:

  • the welfare of the child/young person is paramount
  • all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

The purpose of the policy:

  • to provide protection for the children and young people who participate in our festivals, including the children of festival members
  • to provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm

We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:

  • valuing them, listening to and respecting them
  • adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and safe working practice for staff and volunteers
  • recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
  • sharing information about child protection and safe working practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
  • sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

The Federation will review this policy each year in November in line with Safe Network guidance or sooner in light of any changes in legislation or guidance. All changes will be communicated to our member Festivals in time for the start of the new Festival year.


Delivered in partnership with

afe network

Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone

The Federation and its member Festivals use the following policies and procedures to create Safer Festivals for everyone:

  1. A single, definitive Child Protection Policy adopted by all Federation Festivals.
  2. One or more designated Festival Safeguarding Officers (FSO) appointed for each Federation Festival. Name: Miss Vi Leckey Phone: 07787 832573
  3. Best practice advice in the form of Safe Working Practice and Festival Child Protection leaflets, with support and training for all Festival staff and volunteers. Including clear reporting procedures for anyone with a concern about a child.
  4. Appropriate recruitment and induction procedures for all new Festival staff and volunteers responsible for providing safe environments for everyone attending / performing at a Federation Festival.
  5. All Festival personnel wear an official name badge. All teachers/parents/guardians /carers are asked to report all incidents of any nature to anyone wearing a badge. All reported incidents will be handled in accordance with the Safe Working Practice and Festival Child Protection best practice advice. In addition we will ensure the availability of a quiet area / room where concerns can be expressed in private.
  6. For the duration of a Festival all teachers/parents/guardians/carers are responsible for the continuous care and supervision of their own children/pupils. If they are unable to attend personally, they must delegate their responsibilities to an identified adult and ensure that their children/pupils are aware of the identity and name of the person responsible for their care. This includes supervision throughout all Festival venues, practice and changing areas that may be provided. The Festival cannot take responsibility for any property left unattended.
  7. No unauthorised photography, audio or video recording of children and young people is allowed at our Festivals. Where parents/guardians/carers do not wish photos to be taken at all, then the responsible adult attending should ensure that their child is not included in official photos.
  8. Some children and vulnerable adults may have specific needs in order to take part. If this is the case we ask the responsible teachers/parents/guardians/carers to contact the Festival Organisers at the time of entry. The Festival actively seeks wherever possible to meet these needs, but must know beforehand in order to prepare support – or to advise that help cannot be provided on this occasion.
  9. The Festival’s Child Protection Policy and approach to Creating Safer Festivals for Everyone is published explicitly in our Syllabus, Programme and Website. By completing and signing the entry form (or ticking the box for online entries) all parents / guardians / carers and teachers of competitors under 18 (or vulnerable adults of any age) confirm that they give (or have obtained) the necessary consents for the competitors to take part in the Festival. Without consent the entry to the Festival cannot be accepted.

Honorary President: Miss E.P. Dowd, M.B.E.
Vice Presidents: Mrs. F.E. Acheson Mr. W.T. Robinson
Chairman: *Miss V. Leckey

Honorary Treasurer: *Mr. T. Forsythe, 4 Ranfurly Crescent, Dungannon, BT71 6PH. Tel 028 8772 4589

Membership Secretary: *Miss V. Leckey, 11a Ranfurly Heights, Dungannon BT71 6PL. Tel 028 8772 2868

Honorary Secretary (Music): *Mrs. E. Hill, 66 Old Eglish Road, Dungannon, BT71 7PA. Tel 028 8772 2057
Honorary Secretary (Verse):  *Mr. F. Nesbitt, 12 Riverdale, Tamnamore, Dungannon, BT71 6PZ. Tel 028 8772 6020

Assistant Secretaries: *Mrs. M. Forbes and *Mrs. M. McCreery

Minute Secretary: *Mrs. J. Anderson

Adjudicator’s Secretary: *Mrs. M. McCreery

Cup Secretary: *Mrs. V. Wells

Entry Secretary: *Mr. R. Forbes

General Committee (Includes Sub-Committees) : *Mrs. J.J. Little *Mrs. R. Eitel *Mrs. Y. Stevenson *Mrs. J. Brennan *Mrs. E. Kennedy Mrs. R. McMullan Mrs. L. Swaile Mr. D. Thompson *Mr. J. Little Mrs. S. Stewart Mrs. K. Bain Mrs. J. Reid
Mrs. A. Marshall Mr. M.A. Batchelor

Music Committee:
*Mrs. R.G. Boston Mr. M.A. BatchelorB.Ed., L.R.A.M. *Mrs. M. Forbes *Mrs. M. Nesbitt Mrs. L. Swaile *Ms. H. Patterson-Zeitouni *Mrs. E. Hill

Verse Speaking Committee: *Mrs. Y. Stevenson Mrs. R. McMullan *Mrs. M. McCreery *Mr. F. Nesbitt

*Executive Committee


On Monday 24 October 1921 at 5.00pm, a meeting, chaired by Major TCH Dickson was held in the Committee Room of the Parochial Hall.The purpose of the meeting was to progress the realisation of Mrs Brown and Mrs Neill’s ambition…and so, the beginning, of what was then called,‘Dungannon Musical Festival Association.’ was founded with Lady Ranfurly being elected for President.

Mrs Ada Brown Mrs Anne Neill

Mrs Ada Brown                         Mrs Anne Neill

1922 The first festival was held in the Parochial Hall in May and lasted one and a half days. According to an extract from the Tyrone Courier, ‘it was highly gratifying’.

The programme was dominated greatly by choral entries and indeed Union Place P.E.S. choir, trained by Mr and Mrs Simpson, won many prizes for their excellence – choirs popped up from everywhere…..village choirs, school choirs, church choirs , ladies’ choirs and if the school didn’t have anyone to train a choir, Mrs Brown came to the rescue and trained them herself!

1923 Until 1926 there were only music classes until a meeting of the executive committee on 7 October 1924 whereby Revd. Canon McEndoo proposed that Elocution classes should be included in the following year’s programme. The Festival now lasted three days.

1924 Mr JWC Simpson elected for President.

1925 Verse-Speaking in the form of Elocution Classes (Tyrone Guthrie /first adjudicator)was introduced which increased the duration of the festival to four days. The Time Table for the programme of 1926 read:
Tuesday 4 May – Elocution Competitions
Wednesday 5 May – Adult Competitions (Music)
Thursday 6 May – Junior competitions (Music)
Friday 7 May – Children’s Day (Music)

As recorded in the annual report, the number of entries had risen to 220, as against 150 the previous year.

1927 Captain Burgess (Parkanaur) elected for President.

1928 The Festival changed its venue to John Street Hall .

1929 The Festival was tinged with sadness by the death of one of the Co-founders, Mrs Neill.

1933 Folk Dancing was introduced .

1934 Drama classes were introduced and held in St Patrick’s Hall (£10 for use of hall). Miss Queenie Virtue was elected for secretary of the Drama.

1939….WAR DECLARED….FESTIVAL CANCELLED A non-competitive Drama Festival took place in March and a music day was held in May.

1940 Hall was requisitioned by Military and all trophies and shields were recalled to be stored in the Provincial Bank for safe-keeping.

1945 First Post-war Festival held in the Castle Cinema and a new committee was appointed.

1947 A donation of 10 guineas was given to the Scouts Association for the use of John Street Hall.

1948 At a general meeting in Dickie’s Café, Market square, Dungannon it was agreed to change the name of the Festival to ‘ Dungannon Music & Drama Festival Association’.

1949 The Cups in the Provincial Bank were reviewed, some were re-plated, engraved

1950 Festival held in Viceroy cinema and Presbyterian Lecture Hall. Programme 1/=.

1951 Ballet classes introduced and prove very successful. Over 600 people attended the prize-winners’ concert. This huge increase was probably due to the prize-winners having their fare paid by the Association.

1952 Festival venue changed back to John Street Hall. Words of poems were printed in the programmes which now cost 1/6.

1953 The Committee members stood for one minute silence after being informed of the death of Co-founder Mrs Brown. Mrs Moran, the Music secretary purchased a piano stool as agreed by the committee as previous to this Major Burgess had loaned his for use at the festival. Also it was decided that competitors had to submit their date of birth with their entry as at 31 March.
It was decided not to continue printing the words of songs/poems in the programmes due to the cost of the royalties. Miss Coe resigns as verse-speaking secretary and Miss Pearl Dowd is elected. A Ballet cup is presented for the most promising competitor.

1954 Admission fee to evening sessions reduced from 2/= to 1/6 and programmes reduced
from 1/6 to 1/=.

1956 A Drama Committee is formed.

1959 Mrs Long the Ballet teacher dies and so ended the ballet classes at the festival.

1961 Mrs Acheson from Castlecaulfield is elected President. A deficit of £11 on the years’ working raised the question as to the feasibility of the festival continuing……

1962 Classes for Recorder and Wind Instruments introduced.

1963 Cost of programmes increased back to 1/6.

1968 Mr and Mrs T A Dickson kindly provide hospitality for adjudicators (as opposed to The Northland Arms in the early days).

1970 Miss Leith elected for President

1971 Festival held in new Presbyterian Church Hall. Programme 10p (new pence).

1972 Programmes increased to 15p.

1973 Accounts showed a deficit of £67.90. Committee meetings now held in Royal School(by kind permission). Membership was very low and Mrs Whiteside worked to increase it. Application was made to SELB and Council for grants. Verse-Speaking entries showed an increase but music was down……was television threatening our culture!!

1974 Ladies of St. Anne’s Church served teas at 2p per cup. Entrance fee increased from 10p to 15p. Member’s subscription remained at £1.00. Grant received from SELB.

1977 Miss Leith resigned as President and Mr Halliday was her successor.

1978 Programmes priced at 30p.

1981 Diamond Jubilee Year. Mrs P Hutchison who was the Chairman wrote a brief history of the festival, Mr Halliday wrote the Foreword and Miss Leith wrote her recollections. A yellow Souvenir programme was produced. Mrs Watson arranged a Diamond Jubilee Dinner.

1982 Mrs T A Dickson elected for President. Grant received from the George Cadbury Trust. Entries increased to 478 in Verse-speaking and 519 in Music. Many school choirs were participating.

1983 Dungannon District Council agreed to give a further grant.

1985 A worrying deficit of £116.

1986 Mrs Mercy Little appointed Hon. Cup Secretary. Huge increase to 1440 entries in verse-speaking – although a big reduction in the Adult music classes.

1987 Miss Naomi Doran and Miss Beatrice Miller appointed joint Hon. Secretaries.

1988 The Association decide to award three Bursaries ( 1x piano and 2 x vocal), intended to further the musical education of the winner. Bursary account stands at £1,037. Mr Courtney resigns from the Executive Committee. The Probus Club are invited to help with festival stewarding.

1991 The Chairman, Miss Pearl Dowd paid tribute to three men who had contributed so much to the Association – Mr J Crook, Mr W Courtney and Mr W E Halliday.

1992 Mrs Hilda Robinson elected as President. Door takings increased by £300.

1993 The Chairman, Miss Dowd paid tribute to Miss Queenie Virtue.

1994 Very small entry for adult music classes. Receipted entry fees £2859.00.

1994 Miss Miller resigns as Hon. Secretary. Local papers acknowledged for their excellent coverage.

1995 Committee, on learning of the death of the Treasurer, Mr W Kennedy, stand for a minute’s silence.

1995 Mr John Little was appointed the new Treasurer.

1995 Mrs Edith Kennedy presented a cup for the Toddler’s class in memory of her Late husband.

1995 Crisps, donated annually by member of Association are given to each competitor in the Toddler’s class.

1995 Mrs Margaret Forbes and Mrs Marina McCreery appointed joint Hon. Secretaries.

1996 Seventy-fifth Anniversary Celebrations include a Festival Dinner in Inn on the Park Hotel (£15 per person) and a Souvenir programme (£1), in which the President Mrs Hilda Robinson wrote a Foreword and the Chairman Miss Dowd wrote an outline of the milestone events during the seventy-five years the Festival has been in existence.

2000 Mrs Mercy Little resigns as Cup Secretary

2001 Ms Heather Patterson-Zeitouni appointed Cup Secretary

2002 Death of Mrs Hilda Robinson

2003 Death of Mrs Elizabeth (Betty)) Alexander

2003 – Two special display stands for the cups. This year the cups and awards were beautifully displayed thanks to Mr Ronnie Forbes (Entries Secretary)for making the stands and to Miss M E Macbeth (Vice-Chairman)who made the superbly ornate Royal Blue with Silver fringed and appliqué coverings for each stand.

2003 New Classes introduced: Sacred Solo 15-19 yrs boys and girls and Piano Graded Classes 1, 2 & 3

2003 Sapphire Bronze Statuette presented for the new Sacred Solo Class by Heather Patterson-Zeitouni in recognition of her daughter Sapphire’s festival successes and her late father’s love of sacred music.

2004 Ms Marie Myler resigns as accompanist. Martin White (retired organist Armagh Cathedral) replaces Marie Myler as accompanist along with Ms Marilyn Gillespie

2008 Ms Heather Patterson-Zeitouni resigns as Cup Secretary

2009 Mrs Valerie Wells appointed Cup Secretary

2011 Mr Robert Eitel designs a web site for the Festival (dungannonfestival.com) together with festival news via Facebook.

2012 Death of Miss Naomi Doran




  1. That this Association shall be called “THE DUNGANNON MUSIC AND DRAMA FESTIVAL ASSOCIATION”.
  1. The Association has been formed with the following objectives;
  • To promote the study and cultivation of Music, Drama and Verse Speaking in the neighbourhood.
  • To hold an Annual Festival consisting of Non-Competitive and Competitive classes in Music, Drama and Verse Speaking.
  1. Membership fee £10. The membership tickets are non-transferable.
  1. Every member shall have a vote at the General Meeting and shall be entitled to free admission to all competitions held during the Festival.
  1. There shall be one General Meeting every year, not later than the end of October, for the adoption of the Reports of Committees, Election of Officers and Committee for the ensuing year, and transaction of general business. The Annual Meeting shall appoint a General committee of not more than twenty members in addition to the office bearers and the General Committee shall appoint, from among its number, members who together with the office bearers shall form an Executive Committee of twelve with power to co-opt.
  1. The Executive Committee shall have charge of all matters not specially reserved for the General Meeting and shall have power to appoint Sub Committees and Local Committees to admit members and to make Bye-Laws.
  1. Five members of the Executive Committee to form a quorum.
  1. No change shall be made in the Constitution or Rules except at the General Meeting. A copy of any proposed alteration must be sent to the Secretary by the person desiring it, at least twenty-one days before the date of the General Meeting, and a copy of same shall be forwarded to each member by the Secretary.