Thank you for your interest in the Secondary School Festival! To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all, our participants are required to adhere to the following rules. After many, many years of experience, we find they create a successful festival experience for everyone!
The most important thing by far: Have a great time preparing for and participating in the Festival!
Attendance: Every student from every school will stay for the entire Festival day, from 8am to approximately 4:30pm. If you are outside the Beltway and travel is a problem, call us and we’ll help you figure out how to get here on time. If someone from your cast has a problem with staying all day, let us know that too.
Audience Decorum: Being a good audience member is an important part of the Festival. Audience members are expected to extend to other performers the same courtesies and attention they would appreciate while on stage. This requirement includes being in the theater for all performances, and being a great, attentive audience for other students onstage.
Timing: Performances should be at least 15 and no more than 25 minutes long. In order to ensure that the performances stay on schedule, we must adhere to this rule. Arriving late or taking more than your share of time means that the whole day gets pushed back—and parents miss performances and sometimes students need to leave before the awards are given out.
Admiring Spectators: We encourage you to invite parents, friends, and other admirers to the Festival! Parents and other fans may come and go in the balcony. Please communicate to parents that we often run ahead of schedule. We advise your fans to arrive 15 to 30 minutes early. Street parking is available (please read signs carefully!) and the Folger is also accessible by Metro on the red, blue, and orange lines at Union Station and Capitol South.
Introductory Narratives: The Mistress of Revels will preside over each Festival Day. If you want her to deliver a special, brief introduction, it must be legibly written and given to the check-in docent at the beginning of the day.
Broadside Synopses: So that all students in the audience will have important context for each performance, schools should include a short synopsis of their play on their broadside program.
Photography: Please do not use a flash in the theater as it is a safety risk.
Video: You are welcome to videotape your performance, provided that your camera is battery powered. If you wish to use a tripod, you must set up in the balcony right before the particular performance. Please do not block the view of other spectators.
Lunch: The lunch period is approximately 45 minutes. If we are running behind, however, we make it up here. You'll eat with your buddy school. Bring your own lunches. We’ll have sodas for sale. We strongly encourage you to put all the students’ lunches together in one box. There will be folding chairs and trash cans in the Exhibition Hall, as well as a place to leave your lunch at the beginning of the day. No food, drink, or gum should enter the Elizabethan Theatre.
Awards: There will be two professional commentators on each Festival day whose job it is to praise good work wherever they see it and offer encouraging and constructive feedback to every school. They will give awards for excellence in all areas. Both the commentators and the Library want to see people having fun, people learning about themselves and Shakespeare—not people in cutthroat rivalry. Each school will go home with several awards—but no one person or group ever “wins” the Festival. We are each other’s fans, not rivals.