At the close

25 March 2016

So it's that time when we reflect on the week, give thanks and hand out awards. Reflecting and thanking are easy – we've seen shows that have been political, funny, inspiring, shocking and thought-provoking, and all done with the kind of energy and commitment that make us embittered journos feel thankful for the present and hopeful for the future. 

We're also thankful to all the people that work day and night to keep the festival on its feet. The Management Team are the unsung heroes of NSDF, making sure that everything runs smoothly, and it's testament to their skill and professionalism that their hard work goes by unnoticed – until they clock off and deafen us with beautiful renditions of 90s pop songs. 

Thanks to the Tech Crew, who have somehow found the time to take on the tasks set by us in Technician Impossible when they weren't constructing theatres out of nothing and bringing shows to life with their sound, lighting and design skills. 
And thanks to all our contributors who have made Noises Off what it is. We've loved reading your pieces – they've been intelligent, passionate, witty and have been an essential part of the week-long conversation that is NSDF. We look forward to reading a lot more of your work in the future. 

It's strange ending it all with an awards ceremony – marking out who's done the best work. Perhaps it prepares you for an industry that seems to fetishise acclaim. Perhaps it's a useful addition to the CV. But what matters is not whether you win an award, but what you do about it. 

At the International Student Drama Festival in 2012, judge Richard Schiff (of Toby from The West Wing fame) gave a memorable speech in which he said that "those of you who don't get an award are the lucky ones". His point was that it can be a spur to reexamine your work and grow as an artist, which is the only way any of us learn and get better. And the same is true if you win an award: resting on your laurels is the same as giving up. 

At Noises Off, we're practising what we preach by not giving up until the last gasp of the festival. So pop in, drop in, and chat about life at the festival and beyond. 

Photo credit: Aenna Pallasca