|Do my students have to perform an entire play? Can we cut or combine scenes? |
Each group performs one or more scenes from any of Shakespeare’s works. Cuts are permitted; modern language adaptations are not. Double check any script that you have not prepared yourself. The words should be Shakespeare’s own. Short—we mean short—modern English “bridges” are permitted between scenes or as introductions. At least 90 percent of your presentation must consist of Shakespeare’s language.
Can we use music?
Music may accompany performances. Recorded music or sound effects should be played on a portable, battery-powered player brought by your stage manager for this purpose. Live music must be performed by student cast members. Nothing may be plugged into an electrical outlet.
How long should our performance be?
Performances must be between 15 and 25 minutes. Really. If every school runs over 5 minutes that adds 40 minutes to the day. If you run over time, we must cut off your performance, and you may lose the chance to participate in the following year's festival. Please be considerate and adhere to the 25 minute limit.
What about props and staging?
Previous Festival experience or a private look at the theater does not fulfill this requirement. As our time in the Theatre is limited due to performance scheduling, please arrive on time. You also need to give us your $100 registration fee (checks made payable to the Folger Shakespeare Library) and other paperwork at the walk-through.
- Each group must include a student stage manager.
- The Folger will provide basic furniture—a table, chairs, benches—which you can view at the walk-through.
- Each group may bring other props in a roadbox labeled with your school’s name. The roadbox should be no larger than 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet. Things get lost, crushed, stepped on; people get upset and frustrated. Please do not bring valuables, either for stage or personal use. And remember: if it doesn’t fit into your roadbox, don’t bring it!
- Forbidden props include liquid, glass or other breakables, food (even if not consumed), fire, stage blood, non-stage weapons, guns of any kind, dry ice, fog machines, confetti, dancing elephants, etc.
- We strongly encourage you to arrive already in your costumes and make-up. Please keep costumes and make-up simple.
- Basic stage lighting will be the same for all performances.
- The responsible teacher and/or a student representative must attend an orientation session and walk-through on either Saturday, February 21, at 9am or Monday, February 23, at 4pm. As the set of Folger Theatre's The Winter’s Tale will be up during the Festival, it is essential that you see the playing space for safety and blocking purposes.
What is the schedule like during the Festival?
What awards and recognition are offered?
- All Festival participants—including teachers and adult chaperones—are expected to stay the entire day at the Folger and to be a spirited audience for all performances. Each Festival day begins at 8am and concludes at about 4:30pm.
- This event lasts all day. We expect that for this one day, students will make other arrangements concerning jobs, rehearsals, sports practices, etc., in order to remain for the entire Festival. If this requirement proves impossible for any of your cast members, please indicate so on your registration form.
- Please limit cast and crew combined to 25. The Folger Elizabethan Theatre is small.
- Each student group must be accompanied by the directing teacher and between one and three other adults. Adults will be seated with the students.
- We may be able to seat “groundlings”—additional students from your school who want to watch the Festival but not participate—but we won’t know if we have space for them until after all participating schools have given us a head count. Groundlings must have their own adult chaperones. We cannot confirm groundling seats until February 27, 2009.
- Commentators will present awards of many kinds for excellence in all aspects of performance and production, e.g., ensemble acting, excellence in birdsong, demonstrated understanding, diction, or general foolishness.
- Each student will receive a token of his or her participation in the Festival.
- After the awards ceremony, commentators will offer critiques to interested casts. Commentaries are optional, and you don’t have to decide until the last moment if you would like the commentators to give your cast 5-10 minutes of concentrated feedback. Casts staying to hear their own critique will stay to hear the critiques of all—and the whole cast must stay.
- Students will be treated to lots of great Shakespeare, additional first class entertainment, and careful, positive attention by extraordinary professional commentators.
Secondary School Festival
Planning Guide: A Festival Timeline
How-To: Selecting and Cutting Scenes
About the Festival
Rules for Participation
Rules for Staging