The Launceston Competitions started in 1902, when the Launceston Competitions Association was formed by a group of businessmen, led by the Rev Henry Jones, who were filled with the desire to 'Educate, Elevate and Entertain' their fellow citizens. Initially the Competitions covered elocution, music and art. Callisthenics and eurythmics were added, then dancing, prose and verse writing. Each year 'The Comps' attract students and would-be performers in these arts for a season of three weeks, centred on the theatre. Competitors benefit from performances plus a written report by one of the professional, experienced mainland adjudicators. The non profit-making organisation is supported by business, commerce and citizens. Many prominent performing artists had their start in 'The Comps'. In 2003 there were 3720 entries in 505 classes. The organisation continues to grow.
Further reading: P Webb, 'We educate, elevate and entertain', THRAPP 42/3, 1995; and A century of the Competitions, Launceston, 2002.