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Raison D'etre

Rules are necessary to facilitate fair participation in any Festival.
The rules are intended to ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of the high level of expectations in the Theatrical work, promote the efficient running of the Zone Festivals and the B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest, stimulate creativity, quality and problem solving in the productions, and ensure a fair experience for all participants.


The B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest is, above all, a learning experience for all participants - students, teachers, workshop leaders, adjudicators, and audiences. It provides for the support and development of talents, the promotion of creativity, and the recognition of excellence. The Festival offers a vehicle for the sharing of artistic expression and experiences in both a positive and critical ambiance. The Festival is a celebration serving to advance quality Drama and Theatre education in B.C. schools.


The “Outstanding” or “Representative” production will be invited to the B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest to present their production. The “Alternate” production will also be invited to the B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest, but as a non-performing group. In the event that the “Outstanding” or “Representative” production is unable to attend or perform at the B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest, then the “Alternate” production will be invited to present their production from the Zone Festival.

Rules and Regulations


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  • A1. There must be a minimum of four schools producing shows in the Zone Drama Festival.
  • A2. The cast and crew of each production will be grade 8-12 students from one secondary school.
  • A3. All students involved in a school production must be registered as students at the school for at least one semester of the school year in which the production is entered in the festival.
  • A4. The volunteer director of a festival play (zone/provincial) must be, or must be sponsored by a bona fide current BCTF and ABCDE member from that production’s school.
  • A5. A school may enter a maximum of two productions into a Zone Festival, however each entry must have a significantly different cast and crew. Only one production from a school in a Zone Festival may move on to the B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest.
  • A6. Teachers and students are responsible for the good behaviour of the members of their company according to the guidelines established by the Zone Festival host school and the B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest.
  • A7. All live musicians must be eligible student participants from the production’s school.
  • A8. Each production must provide sufficient crew members to run the production such as a Stage Manager, Lighting Board Operator, Sound Board Operator, and Stagehands. In the event that a production does not have qualified student crew members to operate the lighting and sound boards of the host theatre, the theatre’s technical staff may assist.
  • A9. Each school will be responsible for their own costs. This includes any damages incurred to equipment, property, or persons at the Festival.
  • A10. Organized curtain calls are permitted and encouraged.


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  • B1. Productions shall have a running time of not less than 15 minutes or more than 60 minutes.
  • B2. Each production will receive equal technical time at the host theatre/performance venue.
  • B3. The Festival Stage Manager is responsible for the official timing of all productions. Timing will begin with the first cue given by the production’s stage manager and will end with his/her last cue. The curtain call is not counted as part of the time allowance.


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  • C1. Choice of material (content and language) is the sole responsibility of the participating school’s administration.
  • C2. Performing rights, royalty payments, and/or letters of permission relating to each production are the responsibility of the producing school. A statement that such payments have been made and permission granted will be required by the Festival Host/Coordinator in advance.
  • C3. The ABCDE and the B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest will accept no legal responsibility for any violation of copyright by a school participating in the Festival.
  • C4. Self-contained or self-explanatory single acts or scenes from longer plays may be entered provided permission has been obtained from the publisher or author.
  • C5. Festival programs must contain warnings for such things as: smoke, fog, strobe lights, gun shots, explosions, strong language, mature content, other live or recorded sound which may prove hazardous to health or well-being etc.
  • C6. A correct and complete list of cast and crew is required for the Festival program. This must include all acknowledgements relating to script, performance rights and adult assistance. An indication for adults is required as such: Jane Doe (adult)
  • C7. A script (hardcopy or digital) must be provided for the adjudicator in advance.


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  • D1. Scenery must be safely set-up in 10 minutes and struck in 5 minutes.
  • D2. Each production must be self-contained and provide all their own scenery, costumes, props etc. unless other arrangements are made with the host theatre or other schools. These arrangements must not give the participating production any outstanding advantages not available to other schools.
  • D3. Arrangements for pre-building and touch-ups for set preparation ahead of scheduled technical rehearsal time will be made at the discretion of the Festival Stage Manager.
  • D4. Technical specifications for Zone Festivals and the B.C. National Theatre School DramaFest will be made available to the participating schools.


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  • E1. The host theatre will provide the basic technical support of light and sound. This is usually a general wash and access to sound equipment.
  • E2. A limited number of “Specials” (individual lights to focus on areas of the stage) will be available to each participating production depending on the limitations of the host theatre.
  • E3. Additional lighting or sound equipment used by a production must be set-up during the Technical rehearsal time, and must not interfere with other productions in the Festival.
  • E4. Microphones may not be used to amplify speech for individual productions. They may be used for special effects only (as a prop for a radio announcer, for a musical number, backstage voice-over, or a performer with special needs who requires an amplifying device.
  • E5. Pre-show ambient or mood music or sound may be used only if it is followed by a definite “first cue” for the purpose of timing.


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  • F1. Each production will receive a short (5 min.) public adjudication and a separate private adjudication (30-45 min.).
  • F2. Adjudication will be based on the general excellence of a production.
  • F3. Decisions of adjudicators are final.
  • F4. Zone Reps must make adjudicators and festival participants aware of the General Criteria for Adjudication prior to the Zone Festival.


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One of the objectives of the ABCDE is to promote Drama Education by supporting, encouraging and developing dramatic activity, interest, and knowledge among children and youth in British Columbia. If the adjudication is to reflect this objective, adjudicators should possess as many of the following qualities as possible.

  • G1. Knowledge: Adjudicators should understand...
    - the needs of adolescents;

    - the objective and nature of the Festival;
    - the history and elements of drama and theatre;
    - the elements of drama-in-education and theatre-in-education;
    - the following concepts: author/playwright and dramatic intent, production techniques to address dramatic intent, production integrity in terms of dramatic intent;
    - the written and spoken language of a production.
  • G2. Skills: Adjudicators should be able to...
    - communicate (read, write, speak, listen) to a general audience at a public adjudication, to adolescents and their adult supervisors at a private adjudication, and in the language of a production;
    - encourage participants to explore (looks at things in different ways), stretch (intellectually, emotionally, physically), grow and develop;
    - deal with the needs of groups and individuals positively, respectfully, and constructively;
    - provide unbiased, constructive criticism.
  • G3. Values, Beliefs, Behaviours: Adjudicators should...
    - value learning, growth, development;
    - believe in the Festival and its main objective;
    - believe in adolescents and their potential;
- reflect integrity, tolerance, open-mindedness, sensitivity and understanding, honesty, flexibility;
    - value creativity, risk-taking, equability, questioning, exploring, reflecting, and excellence.

An adjudication rubric created by the ABCDE is available to adjudicators if they wish to use it. Zone Reps can provide a copy.


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  • H1. Read/prepare for adjudication the “scripts” of the productions in advance of the Festival.
  • H2. Attend all performances of the productions at the Festival.
  • H3. In a team adjudication situation, all adjudicators will attend all performances.
  • H4. Deliver a short public adjudication following each evening (session) of theatre.
  • H5. Deliver a detailed, specific private adjudication to each performing group. It is important that this adjudication be constructive and positive.
  • H6. Adjudicators will confer with Festival Stage Managers regarding the selection of suitable recipients of technical awards.
  • H7. Adjudicators will confine awards to those available in the Festival.
  • H8. Normally, adjudicators will award all awards available, however, if the adjudicators feel that the calibre of the productions does not warrant this, the adjudicators will consult with the Festival Coordinator before such a decision is made.
  • H9. Select one “Outstanding” or “Representative” production and one “Alternate” production based on the general excellence of the productions.
  • H10. Inform the Zone Rep of their selections no more than 48 hrs. after the completion of the Zone Festival.