Middle School Play Festival Adjudication

Two adjudicators for each site will be chosen by the NCTC staff and board. Adjudicators will provide a positive experience for all participants, recognize hard work, celebrate achievement, and encourage further growth. After each performance, adjudicators will speak to the cast, crew and director at the front of the house (with audience members observing). Adjudicators are not permitted to see a participant’s entry prior to the Festival performance.

The adjudicators will provide brief verbal feedback to the group, addressing the following items:

  1. In my opinion, the strongest acting/staging elements of this piece were…
  2. If you continue to work on this piece, I would suggest you concentrate on…
  3. When I think back and remember this show, what I’ll remember most is…

Written feedback will also be provided, and mailed to you after the Festival. Click here to review the Adjudication Form, to see what the judges are looking for from each performance.

Middle School Play Festival Awards

An Awards Ceremony will take place approximately one hour after the conclusion of the last play. Awards will be announced, but certificates and written feedback will be sent to teachers after the Festival, to allow participants to leave for home as quickly as possible.

All awards are determined by the judges, unless otherwise noted. The following awards will be presented:


See Below.


10 awards will be given - these are “judge’s choice” awards and may honor excellence in a variety of ways.


2 awards will be given.


10 awards will be given.


Up to ten awards may be given; presented by the NCTC board. (see below)


2 awards may be given; presented by the NCTC board. (see below)


2 awards will be given.


2 awards will be given.


3 awards will be given.

*Shows receiving Superior ratings will be acknowledged during the Awards Ceremony.

Award Descriptions:

Festival Spirit Awards

We encourage your group to attend the entire Festival and watch every show! There will be a fun roll call before each show begins, and schools that are present for all performances will receive a Festival Spirit Award! By attending the full Festival, you are supporting other schools by being an enthusiastic audience, you are able to use the Festival as a tool to meet Essential Standards that focus on analysis, your students are able to learn from the adjudication after each performance, and everyone will make new theatre friends!In the Play Festival rehearsal process, students use movement, voice, and writing to communicate ideas and feelings (8.C.1). Students are taught to understand how to design technical theatre components, such as costumes, sets, props, makeup, lighting, and sound, when they design and construct the production design elements for their Festival show (8.AE.1). At the NCTC Festival, students use performance to communicate ideas and feelings (8.C.2).

By watching performances from other schools, students develop critical thinking skills and learn to understand the traditions, roles, and conventions of theatre as an art form (8.CU.2).  At the Festival, young artists analyze theatre in terms of the social, historical, and cultural contexts in which it was created (8.CU.1). The opportunity to vote on one of the winning shows encourages students to thoughtfully study and analyze literary texts and performances of their fellow theatre artists (8.A.1).

In addition to these essential lessons, students receive valuable feedback from industry experts which helps to improve the quality of theatre programs in schools across the state and encourages students to strive for excellence.

Design and Production Awards

Design & Production is typically recognized in the Theatre Arts category, with the award often shared by the whole cast or an adult design team. The teacher-nominated Design & Production awards will recognize achievement that may not be easily seen onstage. This could be excellence in stage management, public relations, design, crew leadership, etc. Awards will be presented to students who have demonstrated excellent skills and (when appropriate) leadership qualities, which enhanced your Festival production. For these awards, teachers may nominate students and NCTC Board/Staff representatives will evaluate the nominations and determine award recipients.

Each school may submit up to 3 nomination forms, and may nominate individual students or teams of students who worked together. Nominations must be printed out and submitted to the onsite NCTC representative no later than 2pm on the day of the Festival. Download the Design and Production Nomination Form.

Celebrate Your Achievements!

Part of the mission of the Play Festival is to advocate for support for theatre arts programs in schools. NCTC takes action on your behalf and invites you to do the same. At the conclusion of the Festival, principals from participating schools will receive an email from NCTC, acknowledging the awards their school received, thanking them for supporting their theatre program, and explaining how the Play Festival enhances classroom learning. Each teacher will be praised for their achievements and copied on the email. You’ll also receive a press release and we encourage you to send the release to local media outlets, elected officials, school board members, parent supporters and others. Help us advocate for you!

*New for 2017! - Toolkits

ASW Toolkit

ASW (Analysis of Student Work) began as a method to assess student growth in curriculum areas that do not have formal state-wide tests. Most Theatre Arts teachers across NC have been recently been a part of this process. At this point, public school teachers fall into one of these categories:

  1. They must complete ASW under the direction of DPI.
  2. They must complete ASW under the direction of their local school system via a waiver from DPI.

Whether you are working on ASW or not, the ideas below can be useful with the students who are participating in the NCTC Middle School Play Festival. All of this material is based on the Standard Course of Study and can either provide ideas for your ASW process, lesson plans, or evidence of standards based teaching and learning. In addition, using the Play Festival as a part of your ASW process can provide you with some powerful evidence of the importance of participating in the festival for your students.

NCTC K-12 Advocacy Toolkit

Advocacy is building awareness and public support for a cause. It is essential that each of us learn to speak for our programs and for arts education. So many of the people who make policy are not educators or artists - we have much to teach them.

Participating in the NCTC Play Festival provides opportunities before and after the Festival that can help you advocate for your program. Our Advocacy toolkit provides ideas and tactics for the classroom, for parents, your school and school district, and your community. 

Remember, you are the first and best advocate for your program and you can advocate in any or all of these ways.

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