Best Overall School Play
Ultimately, all aspects of the play – acting, direction, costumes, set design, staging, etc – are considered for this award. The best play will be the one that manages to interpret and portray the script with the most success. The intentions of the playwright provide the framework of the story and should be respected. All genres of plays can be entered, from traditional plays and interpretations to more contemporary and creative ones. What’s far more important is that the production succeeds and that it’s of a consistently high standard. It’s never too early to get working – remember perfection takes time!
Best Overall School Musical
As with the Best Overall School Play category, all types and interpretations of musicals can be entered for this award, from traditional to modern and everything in between. To impress the judges, the musical needs to have a high standard of presentation and also score highly in three main areas: singing, dancing, acting. The overall staging and delivery is crucial. Having the biggest budget isn’t necessarily the key to success. Creativity, clever adaptation, and inventiveness will pay hefty dividends. Oh – and not forgetting hard work!
Best Original Production
This category is for all you budding screen writers out there. As with Best Overall School Play and Best Overall School Musical, all aspects of the production will be taken into account during adjudication. All genres of productions can be entered into this category and shows can range from traditional to modern to something we have never experienced before. The only rule is that it must be an original composition. Get your thinking caps on as judges will be looking for creativity, inventiveness and originality throughout the production.
Don’t worry about big budgets - inventiveness can be much more important. The best costumes give the audience a way of identifying the characters, as well as providing information about them. As an example, think about status: a member of royalty will be dressed quite differently than a shop assistant. As with all aspects of the awards, consistency and attention to detail throughout is crucial. One amazing costume on its own isn’t enough if everyone else’s clothes are mismatched. When thinking about costumes, have perspective, look at the overall picture and be inventive.
As with the categories, bigger, pricier and glossier doesn’t necessarily mean better. For a set to be judged the best, it should represent the piece accurately or artistically (preferably both). It should be practical and should not inhibit the performers movement (for example, if onstage chairs are wobbly, a performer may be distracted trying to keep their balance rather than concentrating on their acting). Sets must also fulfill the requirements of the performers and reflect the show’s underlying themes. Creativity is important, so don’t be afraid to use imagination.
Best Male Performance in a Leading Role
This award recognises the best male lead performer (that is, the central male role with the most stage time). The judges will be looking to find a performer who truly understands their character, the storyline and who has the ability to successfully convey all of the inherent emotion and detail to the audience. The performer will be totally believable, and will bring the audience with them in their portrayal of their character. The performance will be all-inclusive and aspects such as voice, movement and technical ability will be taken into consideration. Hard work, dedication and commitment from the performer are required to win this award.
Best Female Performance in a Leading Role
This award recognises the best female lead performer (that is, the central female role with the most stage time). The judges will be looking to find a performer who truly understands their character, the storyline and who has the ability to successfully convey all of the inherent emotion and detail to the audience. The performer will be totally believable and will bring the audience with them in their portrayal of their character. The performance will be all-inclusive and aspects such as voice, movement and technical ability will be taken into consideration. Hard work, dedication and commitment from the performer are required to win this award.
Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Think about how important all of the supporting performers are in stage roles and how they assist to create a seamless flow from one scene to the next. A supporting actor is a performer who doesn’t have the same amount of stage time or lines as a leading role, yet has more onstage time than walk-on parts. The judges will be looking for the performer who makes an obvious impact but who doesn’t quite fit the leading role category. Irrespective of stage time or lines, it’s crucial that the actor views their performance as being of equal importance to the lead roles.
Best Musical Number
Musical numbers have the power to light up the stage, to move an audience to tears, to command a standing ovation and to have spectators clapping along. The showstopper that generates such reactions with the most success will be crowned the winners of this category. Remember to consider stage positioning, song characterisation and vocal accuracy. This category is not necessarily school-show dependent. Entries into this category may be a stand-alone performance and can be entered by a group, a pair or a solo performer. If this is a solo number, the award will only apply to one person. In a group or chorus piece, consistency across the ensemble will be important. Don’t forget, the best musical number will not just be the one that hits all the right notes; it will also be the one that best connects with the audience.
This is the category where dancing definitely gets a chance to impress. Judges will be looking for (where possible) innovative and original movement. In the case of classic, previously devised, choreography, the judges will be paying attention to authenticity. In every case, overall accuracy and fluidity of the choreography will be relevant, as will the confidence and ability of the performers. This category is not necessarily school-show dependent. Entries into this category may be a stand-alone performance.
Best Short Scene Script
In this category, students are given the freedom to create their own scene. There are no limits except their own imagination and creativity! It’s important to remember that this is a performance script and students should think about how it will look and sound not just how it reads. Remember to include a few staging or presentation notes and give the judges as much information about your creative vision as possible. As the scene is short, characters and storylines need to be as interesting as possible so that the attention of the audience is caught immediately.
Best Dramatic Review
In this category, students are asked to write a review of any theatrical performance they’ve seen. This includes a play, a dance show, a musical, a panto, a variety show, a choral evening and so on. Judges are looking for a fair and balanced review that takes into consideration all elements of the production. Students should write a review that gives the reader an overall sense of the production from start to finish.