A great man once wrote that all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.

Well over the last eight decades, hundreds of ordinary people have taken the plunge and trodden the boards in Welwyn for its prestigious one-act play competition.

And next month amateur actors from across the country will be flocking there once again for the 80th Welwyn Drama Festival, now one of the longest running events of its kind in the country.

The first was in 1929 and apart from a break during WWII it has run every year since, which secretary of the festival Sharon Jolly says is quite an achievement.

She adds: “The standard is expected to be high, and the competition healthy – we have several past award winners taking part and Clavering Players (Goldfish Girl) and Wanstead Players (A Room Without a Roof) have both won other festivals recently, Cambridge and Waltham Forest Festival of Theatre, respectively.

“We also have a few new plays – there is a separate award for best new play, The Derrick Baldock Cup – Nick Wilkes, writer and director for The College Players (The Disoysterous Date) has won this award on three previous occasions.”

Also practising their lines for the event are Welwyn-based Barn Theatre Club performing Bouncers, Nomansland Theatre Company from St Albans performing Under New Management and Belmont Theatre Company from Watford and Harrow performing The Lamp.

Turn the Key Productions will be there for the first time with Under the Alder Tree, a devised piece of theatre they are preparing to take to Edinburgh Festival in August, and long-standing competitors, Players’ Theatre from Wales will present A Universal Sorrow, based on Britain’s worst ever pit disaster.

Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Monday, June 2 to Saturday June 8. Details: welwyndramafestival.org.uk