The Scottish Community Drama Association (SCDA) One Act Play Festival is the highlight of the year for many of Edinburgh's amateur theatre companies, vying to represent the Capital in the grand finals of the 79th national festival.
The curtain rises tonight on the first of three Edinburgh and Lothians District heats, in which seven productions will compete under the eye of adjudicator Ron Nicol.
Don Arnott, vice chair of the Eastern Division of the SCDA, says "Although the number of entries is slightly down on 2010, there is an interesting and entertaining mix of plays. The Holy Cow Performing Arts Group will perform a new play, Shadjam, by Dev Menon.
"Leitheatre also have a new two-hander, Specter, by Don Nigra, which will be being seen for the first time in this country. Leitheatre have also entered A Time For Farewells, by Damien Trasler, which will be being seen for the first time in a SCDA One Act Festival.
"St Serfs' Players, last year's winners, have entered three plays this time around, and last year's runners-up, Livingston Players have entered A Dog's Life, by Pam Valentine. Finally, Mercators, who were unable to put on their planned one act play due to illness of one of their members, have filled in the vacant spot with an extract of their 2010 Fringe show, The Queensferry Diligence."
The winners will follow in a long tradition. The SCDA presented their first One Act Festival back in 1926 and with the exception of the war years, the event has been held annually ever since.
The winner and runner-up of this year's Edinburgh and Lothians District Round will proceed to the Eastern Division Final at Livingston's Brian Duguid Theatre in March.
The winner and runner-up of that final will go on to compete in the Scottish Final Festival at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, in May.
St Serf`s Players (Afton): This Santa Thing By Claire Scott
Leitheatre (Sunnyside): Specter By Don Nigra
Mercators: The Queensferry Diligence, adapted by Alan Richardson
Holy Cow Performing Arts Group: Shadjam By Vasudev Menon
St Serf`s Players: (Banghold) Gloria`s Angel By Alistair Faulkner
Livingston Players: A Dog's Life By Pam Valentine
Leitheatre (Kirkgate): A Time For Farewells By Damien Trasler
St Serf's Players (Clark): Alas Poor Geoffrey By Alistair Faulkner
2011 SCDA One Act Play Festival, St Serf's Hall, Clark Road, tonight-Saturday, 7pm, 8 (season ticket for three evenings 21), available from venue each evening