The National Student Drama Festival (or NSDF) was founded in 1956 by the Sunday Times arts columnist Kenneth Pearson, the Sunday Times theatre critic Harold Hobson, and National Union of Students president Frank Copplestone. Pearson became the organisation's first artistic director. Early supporters also included Sunday Times Editor Harry Hodson and Professor Glynne Wickham, a leading pioneer of the academic discipline of drama based at the University of Bristol.
The festival currently takes place on a yearly basis in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England near the end of March. Among the theatres used to showcase the productions is the Stephen Joseph Theatre, along with a number of other venues at the Spa Complex, Scarborough College, Scarborough Sports and Tennis Centre and the University of Hull Scarborough Campus.
- 1971 to 2000 - Clive Wolfe
- 2001 to 2003 - Nick Stimson
- 2004 to 2006 - Andrew Loretto
- 2007 to 2012 - Holly Kendrick
- 2013 to present - Michael Brazier
Noises Off Editors
Prize Winners NSDF10
- Directors' Guild Award: Ashley Scott-Layton University of Leeds (Phaedre's Love)
- Buzz Goodbody Student Director's Award: Sarah Davies, University of Hull (Tell Tale)
- Sunday Times Playwriting Award: Sarah Davies, University of Hull (Tell Tale)
- Cameron Mackintosh Music Award: Warwick University (By The Bog Of Cats)
- Spotlight Award for most promising actor: Rupert Lazarus, University of Leeds (Phaedre's Love)
- Spotlight Award for most promising actress: Rachel Helen Shaw, University of Leeds (Phaedre's Love)
- FestGoers' Award: Warwick University (By The Bog Of Cats)
- Harold Hobson Award for Theatre Criticism: Dan Hutton (Cedars Upper School)
- Director's Award: John Godber, (Toys of Age)
- Music Award: Dmytro Morykit, NEM (Valley of the Ashes)
- 'Raw Talent : Fifty Years of the National Student Drama Festival' (ISBN 1-84002-553-0).
- 'NSDF Programme 2010' (printed and distributed by the Festival)
- 'NSDF Programme 2011'