Festival Sites: Blumenthal Performing Arts: Spirit Square (Charlotte) 

Carroll Magnet Middle School (Raleigh)

*Registration is Closed

Festival Overview

At the NCTC Middle School Play Festival, schools from all across the state come together to share their talents and celebrate their collective achievements. 

The basic premise of the Festival is that schools load-in their set into a backstage area that is approximately 10′x10′, before taking the stage to perform their play. Students have 45 minutes to tell their story and leave the stage completely clear. Following their performance, students receive verbal and written feedback from industry experts. When not performing, students watch performances from other schools, learn from their peers and make new theatre friends. You can read more about Festival preparation and rules here.

At the end of the Festival, numerous awards are presented in an exciting ceremony that celebrates the achievements of all participants. You can read more about awards and adjudication here.

Expand the tabs below for important Festival information. 

2017 Registration Fees and Procedures

Early Registration – Opens January 5 at 12pm – $295/show 

All NCTC organizational memberships run from July 1-June 30 and schools that paid their NCTC organizational membership dues on time (by July 31, 2016) are permitted to register at a reduced rate and during the early registration period. See the list of schools eligible for early registration.

Late Registration – Opens January 10 at 12pm – $325/show

Play Festival registration fills up very quickly. It is possible all slots could be taken during the early registration period. If any Festival slots remain after early registration, late registration will be open to schools that were not eligible for early registration, and for those who did not take advantage of the opportunity. Schools will pay their organizational membership dues when registering in this period.

The deadline for Play Festival payments (submitted to NCTC) is Monday, February 27 by 5pm. Purchase orders are not needed and are not an acceptable form of payment. Each school may register up to 2 productions.


How Festival Participation Aligns with the NC Essential Standards for Theatre Arts Education

Though the NCTC Play Festival is somewhat competitive, our goals are to showcase theatre programs and give students a nurturing environment to improve their work. More importantly though, the Festival platform allows teachers to fulfill the NC Essential Standards for Theatre Arts, through an exciting, hands-on learning experience.

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.

Assistance for New Teachers

The Play Festival can seem complicated and overwhelming at first, but we are here to help. If you are a new participant this year and have any questions, please contact us and we will help you with process, and can even connect you with an experienced participant to help you in your first year. Email Executive Director Angie Hays at angelahays@nctc.org.


New teachers are eligible for a 50% discount on Play Festival registration! Visit the registration page to learn more.


If you have questions about your membership status, contact NCTC General Manager Amanda Clark at

If you have questions about Festival rules and procedures, contact NCTC Executive Director Angie Hays at angelahays@nctc.org.

Statewide Sponsor