Each age group is set a different theme such as “ The Sea”, “Winter”, “Space” or “Night”. 
Competitors (with their teachers) choose a poem within this given theme that may be recited within the two minutes time limit. The poem must be learnt. No copies should be used for performance on the day, but a copy should be given to the adjudicator’s clerk on the day of performance. Adjudicators are looking for expression, interpretation, communication and enjoyment.


Each age group is set a different theme, gendre or author such as “ Mystery”, “Legend”, “Fairy Tale” or “Sea”, “School”  and “ Magic”.  Competitors (with their teachers) choose a book that fits the appropriate title and they prepare a short passage from the book that is read on the day of performance, lasting no more than two minutes. The actual book must be used on the day – no photocopies. Adjudicators look for expression, confidence, communication with the audience and an understanding of the text. Competitors should try to make the book come alive so that their reading is dramatic and entertaining.


Different age groups are set titles that may be the name of a particular book in the Bible (eg. Isaiah), the name of a character in the Bible (eg.Moses) or a location (eg, The desert). 
Using these themes, the competitors choose a short passage from the Bible that lasts no more than two minutes in performance. The Bible must be held and used during the performance. A clear introduction of book and chapter should announce the reading. The Festival Syllabus indicates which version of the Bible should be used by each age group (eg. “Authorised Version”. “Good News Bible” “New International Version”) Adjudicators are looking for a clear, expressive rendition of the passage, that communicates the meaning and shares with the audience.


Sight reading passages are given to competitors at the start of the session. These are age-appropriate. Competitors have a couple of minutes to look through the extract before performance. Adjudicators look for a competent reading, with expression and clarity, that is confidently shared with the audience. 


Competitors choose and prepare their own story, either traditional or original, up to three minutes in length. No script should be used on the day. Stories must be told, not read. Story tellers may sit or stand for their performance. Any kind of story from thriller to fairy story may be used, but all must be suitable for a family audience. Adjudicators are looking for confidence and clarity in a story that captures interest through the use of expression, tension or humour, communication of meaning, different voices and dramatic pause.


Competitors perform an appropriate speech from a play lasting up to three minutes. No costumes or make-up may be used. The performance should begin with the title and a brief introduction to set the scene. Small hand props may be used if appropriate. A table and chairs will be available if needed. Adjudicators are looking for a convincing and sincere performance where the audience believe in the character and the scene is brought alive through words and movement. A script should be given to the adjudicator’s clerk before the performance begins.


Similar to the solo acting classes, but the extract from the play may last up to five minutes and is performed by two people. In addition to the key points listed under solo acting, adjudicators will also be looking for interaction, relationship and response between the two characters in the play. A script should be given to the adjudicator’s clerk before the performance begins.


Performers present an appropriate extract from a play up to ten minutes in length. (A “group” must be no less than 3 and no more than 6 members.) The rules for solo-acting and duologue apply. The play should be suitable for a family audience. A script should be given to the adjudicator’s clerk before the performance begins.


Under this section, competitors perform a sonnet or speech from a play. The time limit is three minutes. No costume or make-up is allowed. Hand held props may be used.  The title of the piece should be clearly announced with a brief introduction setting the scene. Adjudicators are looking for a dramatic performance faithful to the works of Shakespeare. Adjudicators will look for good communication with the audience and a clear empathy with the character. A script should be given to the adjudicator’s clerk before the performance begins.


The subject will be given at the start of the class. These may include titles such as “Disaster”, “Mistaken Identity” or “Lost in Town”, and performers improvise a short play around the theme lasting up to three minutes. Adjudicators will be looking for a clear development of the story with a dramatic starting point and a good conclusion. Characterisation, interaction and reaction are important. Themes are age-appropriate.


As with solo and duo improvisation classes, competitors make up a short play, but in group improvisation the title is supplied in advance by the festival committee. This theme/title is listed in the syllabus that is published in October. The theme may give a location (eg “In the Attic” or “Behind the Curtain”), a closing/opening line (eg “I have certainly learnt my lesson” or “Did you hear that?”), a title (eg. The Soldiers of the  Queen” or “The Lost Tickets”) and performers should use this theme to develop a short play with a clear beginning, development and conclusion. Adjudicators will be looking for good characterisation and clarity of story, as well as interaction and reaction amongst the actors and communication with the audience. There is a time limit of ten minutes for this class. Groups are no less than three and no more than six members


Each age group has a different title to prepare their speech around. These titles are published from October in the festival syllabus. Competitors prepare a speech lasting up to five minutes. All themes are age-appropriate and recently have included titles such as “A World Without Music”, “My Alternative Olympics”, “Stagestruck” and “Is the Film Better than the Book?”. Appropriate props and crib notes may be used.  Adjudicators look for clear presentation, appropriate use of humour, interesting content, sincerity, good communication and train of thought, confidence, and the ability to present their arguments to the audience.


Groups are required to perform a poem, or an extract from a poem, in a lively and imaginative style. This may include vocal sound effects, occasional solo voices, small groups speaking separately, juxtaposition, echoes and many other effects to create the atmosphere of the poem. The group must work as a disciplined choir, speaking and moving together. Some groups even set the tone of the poem in the way they move onto the stage. The piece must have a title. A copy of the poem must be given to the adjudicator’s clerk before the performance. Choirs must be no fewer than eight and no more than thirty. The time limit is ten minutes and poems must be taken from themes listed in the year’s festival syllabus. With the exception of Key Stage One classes, all performances must be unaided.


There are three classes under Prepared Mime – solo, duo and group. A group is no less than three and no more than six. Hand props, costume and make-up may not be used. Performers prepare a mime up to three minutes in length. In the past these have included babysitting, working-out, flying away on a balloon, taking a shower and a scene on the beach. Performers have a free choice.  Adjudicators look for clear representation of what is happening, a logical development, good facial expression and body language, perspective, reaction and interplay between the characters.


This is an original poem recited or read by the author. It can be on any theme, but must always be suitable for a family audience.  A copy of the poem must be sent at the same time as the entry form, as it is then sent straight on to the adjudicator. Poems are read and marked before the festival with 70% of marks going on the content and structure of the poem itself. The remaining 30% is given for performance on the day of the Festival. The copy of the poem for the adjudicator should be clearly labelled with poet’s name, age and the festival class name and number.