Competing in the Maryland Festival

The Maryland Community Theatre Festival Association is a sanctioned State Affiliate of the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT), Region II, the Eastern States Theatre Association (ESTA). The winning production(s) will be automatically invited to compete in the E.S.T.A. regional tournament later that year. Every two years, in odd numbered years, each AACT Region will send its overall best production to the AACT National Festival (AACTFest).

Who May Enter
Any community-based amateur theatre organization in Maryland or The District of Columbia may enter provided,

  1. It has been organized in Maryland or DC for at least one year prior to the tournament and has produced at least two shows for public performance, and
  2. It has a decision-making board from the community.

If space permits, more than one production may be permitted.

There will be a fee per production entered, which will be discounted for AACT Member Organizations.

Once a play is in rehearsal for the festival, actors and technicians may not be paid, directly or indirectly, to rehearse or perform in that production. Directors and designers may receive normal remuneration, though not for any "hands-on" participation in the tournament. Actors who are active members of Actors Equity and any other persons regardless of affiliation who receive more than half their annual income from work as actors, shall not be permitted to perform.

What May Be Presented
Productions entered may be a cutting of a full-length play or musical, a one act play, or any other performance of a theatrical nature. If you are intending to do a cutting of a full-length production, you must furnish proof of permission from the author or leasing agent to perform the script as cut.

The total length of the production may not exceed 60 minutes. If a company elects to have a curtain call, it must be concluded within the allotted performance time. In addition, each company will be allowed a maximum of 10 minutes to set up and ten minutes to strike. (See the Rules of Competition for details.)

Performance, set-up and strike will be timed by the stage manager. If a production is disqualified by exceeding the performance time limit, that disqualification will be passed on to those participants and to the adjudicators confidentially after the last adjudication, so as not to interfere with the performance or critique. The adjudicators will be advised that that production will not be eligible for award. The performance is deemed to begin with the first lighting change, sound, (recorded or live,) or movement onstage other than to a preset position. If the set-up exceeds 10 minutes, the excess will be deducted from the performance time. If the strike exceeds 10 minutes, the production will be disqualified.

Other Production Rules
Tech-in and rehearsal time onstage, order of performance, time limits on critiques, sequestering of adjudicators and methods of scoring and award presentation will be determined by the tournament coordinators, and will depend on the number of participants, the running times of the productions and the time and space constraints on the use of the facility.

The critiques by the adjudicators will begin immediately after the production is struck. The critiques will be done publicly, with each adjudicator addressing the participants in such a way as to be heard by the audience. Adjudication may be done individually or in a Panel format, and will be limited to a particular time so that all the adjudicators have equal time to respond to the performance. They will not be allowed to discuss their evaluations with each other or anyone else until after the awards are are given. Each adjudicator will be given the same amount of time, and will be asked to be positive and instructional in their critiques. (See Guidelines for Adjudication.)

Awards shall be determined by the adjudicators. At a minimum, the adjudicators shall determine the following:

  • Best Production
  • Runner-up for Best Production
  • Best Director (The Cliff Smith Memorial Award)
  • Technical Excellence (The Ed-Ro-Char Award)
  • Outstanding Performance Awards (minimum of 4 to be presented)

What Is Required To Participate
A participating organization must provide:

  • Payment of non-refundable entry fee, (as determined by the Association.)
  • Proof of permission from the author or leasing agent to perform the play as it will be presented, (i.e. including cuts or other alterations.)
  • Proof of payment of royalty for the festival performance.
  • Signed statement of actor eligibility
  • Entry information and technical requirements as requested by the festival staff.
  • Three copies of the play as it is to be performed. (These are for the adjudicators to prepare for the festival.)

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