This Year's Theme

The 2022 Performance guidelines are different from previous years due to the virtual nature of the contest.
Find updated guidelines here

Tips for Students:


Credit to Amy Cohen for her tips
  • Check judging sheet regularly to remember what's most important!
  • Let your thesis be your guide; all material should support the thesis.
  • Follow rules closely.
  • The process paper should be detailed and flawless.

Quick Tips for Writing Scripts:

  • Identify the key information first. Find the quotes, speeches, characters etc. that you know you must include and work the performance around these.
  • Balance drama with historical evidence. Using quotes, speeches, or excerpts from sources like newspapers can be an excellent way to incorporate evidence and detail that a great performance requires.
  • Prepare a performance. Don't prepare an oral report that simply states facts. You need characters to come alive and interact with each other and the audience. Try to engage the audience by asking questions or creating dramatic scenes.
  • Choose the type of voice you want to use. You can use first person and third person perspectives to tell your story. In some cases you may want to use both to convey your points.
  • Choosing characters. Select characters that can tell the most in your story. Don't overcomplicate the storyline with too many.
  • Block. As you write your script, include the actions and placement of your characters.
  • Avoid clutter. Too many props, costumes, or characters will overwhelm your performance.
  • Length. Scripts are usually 4-5 pages.
  • Your research is still central. You want each piece to tie back to your main argument and thesis.

Other Considerations:

  • Realize that you will have to bring ALL props, scenery, costumes with you. Consider asking a parent to chaperone to help you with this.
  • Get feedback from lots of people-perform your piece for friends, family, classmates, and ask for suggestions.
  • For more tips, judging sheets, and information about NHD performances, visit the Project Categories Page of the NHD Website and select "Performances" at the top of the page