It has become one of the most important events in the island’s drama calendar and this year’s Easter Festival of Plays promises to be a treat for theatre goers.

Some of the finest amateur dramatics groups from the UK and locally will take part in the long-running, week-long drama festival organised by the Manx Amateur Drama Federation (MADF)

Nine one-act plays will be performed by five theatre companies over six days next month at the Gaiety Theatre. There will be a mix of comedy and drama which will send the audience on a roller coaster of emotions.

The plays will begin at 7.30pm each evening and runs from Saturday, March 30 to Thursday, April 4.

President of MADF Michael Lees is looking forward to this year’s event and believes audiences will be spoilt by the quality on offer.

He said: ‘I am pleased that, after much planning over the winter, a great Easter Festival of Plays at the Gaiety Theatre is opening on Easter Saturday.

‘This festival is considered by many to be the blue riband competition in the British Isles. There are some great plays and we are delighted that local drama groups are once again to be included. It gives a rare opportunity to see one act plays and full length at the Gaiety.

‘Our adjudicator is Chris Baglin (GoDA) a member of the guild of Drama adjudicators. We hope it will be a Happy Easter to all theatregoers.’

The festival will take place from Saturday, March 30 until Thursday, April 4. The local groups are Rushen Players, who will perform Escaped Alone by Caryl Churchill on March 30 and Two by Jim Cartwright on April 2; Parados Theatre Company, who will perform Victoria Station by Harold Pinter on March 30;  Platform Theatre School who will perform Viral by Maria McConville on April 2 and the Service Players, who will perform Babysitting Calvin by John H Newmeir and the Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter, both on April 4.

Three full length plays are being presented by UK teams. On March 31 White Cobra (last year's winners) are presenting a comedy drama entitled Lilies on the Land by Lion's Part. This is recollections from the Women's Land Army based on hundreds of letters sent to the troops during World War Two and their replies.

On April 1 the company will present The Father by Florian Zeller. This play is seen through the eyes of a man with dementia which proves both heartbreaking and uplifting and was turned into an acclaimed film recently starring Anthony Hopkins.

On April 3, Wellington Theatre company present 1984 by George Orwell which is constructed almost entirely from dialogue taken from the original novel. Despite being written more than 75 years ago, this remains a terrifying commentary about what could happen or is it happening now.

Tickets are available from the Welcome Centre and the Gaiety Theatre box office.