Entries are slowly creeping in for the 142nd annual Wellington Eisteddfod with organisers putting an unexpected delay down to a number of contributing factors.
As of Friday organisers had received around half the number of expected nominations for the dance section, meanwhile speech and drama was around 80 entries shy of that in 2017 and vocal and instrumental is less than 25 per cent of expected entries based on past figures.
Despite these numbers dance registrar Naomi Jeffery remains confident the eisteddfod will have good participation again this year. She predicts a last-minute surge in entries for the event to be held between July 28 to August 17.
“Last year the total entries for dance was 2041, we’re hoping for the same this year,” she said.
“Last year 22 different dance schools ranging from Young, Blue Mountains, Cobar and more entered, as well as 10 schools of education.
“Speech and drama currently has 307 entries, last year it had 384 but I’m confident for drama to get good numbers.”
Ms Jeffery said local participants predominately make up the vocal and instrumental section, and with entries set to close on June 3 she encourages those interested to act fast.
“We don’t accept late entries unless under special circumstances,” she said. “We need to get the program done so please don’t wait until last moment, the system could slow down and if it crashes you could miss out.”
Speech and drama registrar, Chris Campion, acknowledged the pressure faced by schools through demands of a very diverse curriculum as a factor of the currently low rate of entries for the eisteddfod which has grown to be the most desired in the district.
“We have quality adjudicators interested in encouraging students,” Ms Campion said.
“We tend to choose adjudicators who have an understanding that country students don’t always have access to specialist teachers in small towns.
“We don’t necessarily have specialist classroom teachers available either, it means generalist teachers may not have expert knowledge to prepare students for the performing arts.”
Ms Jeffery clarified this does not impact the quality of performers, particularly in classical ballet which has proven impressive to adjudicators in past.
The duo shared their appreciation to Dubbo Regional Council for its interest and support in upgrading the facility ahead of the eisteddfod.