Drama: One Acts

Description of Event

L.E.S.T. Northwest offers an opportunity for schools to prepare and present scenes or one-act plays in juried competition. The schools that achieve a certain point level on the judging forms will receive an “Outstanding Performance” award, presented at the L.E.S.T. Closing Ceremony. 

The Drama Competition will be held at a location as yet to be determined, following a schedule that will be sent to schools in January. The area for the performance should measure no larger than 20 ft. wide by 15 ft. deep. The area will be lit with a general wash, which may be brought up or blacked out. There will be no special or spot lighting available. 

Each school should indicate on the L.E.S.T. Northwest Registration Form their intention to participate in the Drama Competition. Each school may also submit a program page which lists the title of the play, the cast list, the school’s name, etc. You are encouraged to use student artwork on this sheet. An electronic program shall be created from these program pages for the drama performance, available on the L.E.S.T. website.


  1. Schools must clear royalty issues with the play’s agent. L.E.S.T. Northwest is not responsible for any royalty infractions or royalty payments. We strongly encourage you to contact the publishing house (Samuel French, Anchorage Press, etc.) to determine whether royalties are applicable. Be sure to inform them that this is a juried competition with educational outcomes and that no admission will be charged.
  2. Bring any props or costumes needed for the production, remembering that each school will be limited to five (5) minutes of set up and five (5) minutes of take down time before and after the performance.
  3. You are encouraged to use understudies for any actor or actress who may find themselves in the position of needing to decide between performing on the stage or participating in another L.E.S.T. event. We will be unable to change the schedule due to event conflicts.
  4. It would be very helpful if you would bring two extra scripts to your L.E.S.T. performance, one for the judges and one for the person controlling the lighting.

Guidelines for the Selection of Scene or One Act Play

  1. It should be a contemporary script (post-1930). 
  2. It must be no longer than 20 minutes in length. (The performance will be halted at 20 minutes.) 
  3. No musicals or original scripts are allowed. 
  4. There will only be 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to take down the set for the performance.  Choose and plan accordingly. 


The jury will consider the following when writing comments and when choosing the recipients of the awards: 

  • Voice/Projection
  • Blocking and Movement
  • Preparation/Improvisation
  • Facial Expression/Body Language
  • Characterization
  • Ensemble
  • Set/Costumes/Technical Elements 

Points             Placement     Award             

22-28             First                Blue                

15-21              Second                                  

4-14               Third                                      

Actors are judged on their own performance, not compared to other performers. Awards will be given for blue ribbon winners. The judges’ scoring sheets, with valuable comments, will be given to each school at the closing of L.E.S.T. Northwest. 

It is important that judges write a complete evaluation. They should not wait until the one-act is completed to begin writing constructive feedback! Writing during students’ performances is permitted. It is critical for the contestants and their coaches to have the educational feedback that justifies judges’ decisions. Judges must strive to be objective in their ratings, not allowing personal opinions or biases regarding an idea or particular selection to predetermine their impression of a student’s presentation.

How to Participate

Each school should indicate on the L.E.S.T. Northwest Registration Form their intention to participate in the Drama: One Acts.

When registering, if a school has not yet chosen their performance piece, the title of the selection may be submitted later by emailing Jim Scriven, JimS@nowlcms.org, submitting no later than January 17, 2023.

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