To Enter Entries Closed

2024 Competition dates: Tuesday 20 August - Friday 23 August

Venue: Connor's Hall ACU - Mair St Ballarat

Adjudicator for 2024 is Jack Richardson.

We have partnered with Stardom eisteddfod management system for entries and event management. Song titles, music files and DLPs can all be uploaded in preparation for the event.

A Stardom account is required to enter.

ACU Speech and Drama Competition

Speech is to express thoughts and feelings by articulate sounds. Drama is a composition in prose or verse presenting in dialogue or pantomime a story involving conflict or contrast of character.

The ACU Speech and Drama Competition is renowned for providing competitors with a challenging but relaxed environment in front of outstanding adjudicators. The friendly and competitive eisteddfod environment offers a unique chance for personal growth and improvement for all competitors. 

Competitors may enter prepared readings of poetry, recitation, impromptu mime, character performance, prepared readings, poem for two, group sections and improvisation sections.

Our eisteddfod platform is an important part of the encouraging and transformative journey for performers where they can receive constructive feedback, learn and refine their skills, boost their confidence, and unlock their full potential.

Join us on your path to self-discovery and artistic excellence.

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Prize Winner Series – Hayley Every

Jack Richardson Headshot

Jack Richardson

Carolyn Bennett

Radio Interview on 3BA with our Development & Volunteer Coordinator Carolyn Bennett

2024 Entries Open On 1st March

Entries Open on 01 March


Learn more about the Speech and Drama discipline from our collection of stories, historical records and media....

John Stapp

John Stapp

Joy MacGilp

Enjoy this video of the wonderful Joy MacGilp competing for her second time at Royal South Street Society at 93 years young!

Joy competed at Royal South Street Society in 1935 in Elocution at 8 years of age and again in 2020.

Play Video


Explore our history timeline for Speech and Drama


Lionel Logue, (played by Geoffrey Rush in ‘The King’s Speech’) arrives in Ballarat to adjudicate South Street’s Elocutionary Competition. His system of judging is published in South Street’s 1918 Guide Book, with points awarded for voice production, resonance and modulation, pronunciation, enunciation, timing, phrasing, deportment, grace, general ability and the conception and intelligence of the piece performed. The evening holds the attention of a large audience with a program ranging from the bush verses of Adam Lindsay Gordon to historic narratives and comic sketches of “Mumford’s Pavement” and “My First and Last Appearance.”’ Ballarat rejoices at the news that World War One has ended and thousands congregate in Sturt Street to celebrate as the bells ring out.


A special meeting of the South Street Society is called to consider whether the Competitions should proceed in view of the polio epidemic sweeping Victoria. It is resolved that competitors under 15 years of age not compete and the Junior Calisthenics Section is also cancelled.

A concert is held to establish a Percy Campbell Memorial Prize to be awarded annually to the Ballarat boy or girl who secures the highest marks in the Piano Solo under 14 years. Although partially blind since birth, Campbell had perfect pitch.

Aboriginal people become Australian citizens.

The Louie Dunn Prize is established in memory of one of Ballarat’s noted teachers of Speech and Dramatic Art.  It was established to be the pre-eminent award for Drama in an eisteddfod in Australia, and it remains so.


The Ballarat Civic Male Choir under the baton of Mr. W. H. Keith Young wins the Male Choir Section.

Changing audience tastes are reflected in  suggestions to introduce an Original Radio Talk, and Novel and Short Story Writing Contests and remove from the prize list recitals of verse by an Australian author. Other new items of interest include Impromptu Dialogue and Speech and One Act Plays.

With 1105 entries for dance, Judges curtail their criticism in the solo items to save time.


Sovereign Hill sponsors a $500 prize for an Old Time Concert Party with contestants to provide

“Continuous entertainment of Old Time Music, Dancing, Comedy, Minstrels, Melodrama, Novelty, Quartettes, Magic, Juggling, and anything suitable for Music Hall Entertainment.”

Percey Winter, aged 73 years, who competed in South Street in 1935, rides his bicycle 150 miles to make a farewell appearance in the Speech Section. He gave his own composition titled – “Keep the South Street billy boiling.”

The Sydney Opera House opens and a Violin Section is introduced into the competitions.


The Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Winneke, opens the competitions and attends a celebratory centenary dinner at Craig’s Hotel.

Also in attendance is Miss Elsie Berry, a winner for Speech and Drama in 1903 who formally donates her gold medal to the Sovereign Hill Paul and Jessica Simon Gold Museum.

The Ballarat Courier and 3BA donate inscribed silver trays to winners as a special Centenary Gift, and Ballarat City Council donates a Centenary perpetual trophy for the School Music Section, which is won by the Ballarat and Clarendon College Orchestral Band.

A Souvenir history of South Street, The First One Hundred Years, is published and written by Mr E T Lewis.


New Parliament House opens in Canberra as part of the Bicentenary celebrations and the Sun News Pictorial increases first place prize money for the Most Graceful Calisthenics Girl to $1000

Royal South Street continues its campaign to raise funds for Her Majesty’s and the Victorian State Orchestra gives a concert to support the theatre restoration appeal.

The Dickens Fellowship donates a prize for a prepared reading from Dickens in the Speech and Drama section.


After a 47 year absence, the Society re-introduces the Highland Pipe Band.

The W.S. Hooper Prize is put towards Speech and Drama and two new Sections are introduced – Story Telling and Acting in Pairs