one act festival


How to Participate:
Troupes are no longer required to apply for a one act performance slot. Simply register your One Act for participation via our online registration system and complete the supplemental one act application including a signed principal permission form. Performance opportunities are on a first-come, first-serve basis and are limited to 24 performance slots with a maximum performance length of 45 minutes. Please consider carefully before reserving a slot. Remember, all troupes registering for a performance slot become financially responsible for paying for that slot, even if they cancel prior to submitting their registration. Troupes must submit their proof of paid rights/royalties and cutting permission if applicable with their registration payment.

One Act Festival Rules and Becoming Chapter Select:
Maryland Thespians follow the National Guidelines for One Acts, and selects a One Act to recommend for performance at the International Thespian Festival called the Chapter Select. To be chosen as Chapter Select, One Acts must be adjudicated at the Maryland State Thespian Festivalby an evaluation team selected by the chapter director and/or governing board. The evaluation team may select one top-quality show (and an alternate in case the first school is unable to attend) as the Chapter Select representing the State of Maryland in the Chapter Select Showcase at the International Thespian Festival. The Chapter Select will be the One Act that receives the highest rating on the Maryland Chapter One Act Festival Rubric. At the International Thespian Festival, performances take place at Indiana University Bloomington. On both the state and national levels, a One Act is granted forty-five minutes of performance time, ten minutes to set, and five minutes to strike. At the state level, performance slots will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis until the One Act schedule is full. To ensure the widest array of theatrical variety, no two schools will be allowed to present the same title at the same festival. If presenting a One Act the troupe must be registered for the entire Festival weekend.

The following One Acts were presented at the 2017 Maryland State Thespian Festivals and cannot be presented again until the 2021 Maryland State Thespian Festival:

A Dopey Fairytale, Ascension Day, At the Bottom of Lake Missoula, Constellations, Emotional Baggage, Everyone Gets Eaten By Sharks, Know Your Role, Law & Order: Fairytale Unit, Mirrors, Most Likely To, Parallels, Proof, Radium Girls, Stuck, The Diary of Adam & Eve, The Imaginary Invalid, The Long View, The Miracle Worker, Tracks, Women & Wallace, Zap

The following One Acts were presented at the 2018 Maryland State Thespian Festivals and cannot be presented again until the 2022 Maryland State Thespian Festival:

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Almost Maine, And, And Others, Cheaters, Digging Up the Boys, Divided We Fall, Don’t You Love Me, Leonard Town, Much Ado About Nothing, Orphan Train, Steel Magnolias, Stupid F-ing Bird Act 1, 2 & 3, The Amish Project, The Murderous Mansion of Mr. Uno, Valentine, You Can’t Take It With You, You Do Love Me Don’t You

The following One Acts were presented at the 2019 Maryland State Thespian Festivals and cannot be presented again until the 2023 Maryland State Thespian Festival:

Becky's New Car, The Bald Soprano, Bobby Trap, Cut, Declaration, Doubt, Fuddy Meers, Grover, Her Pilgrim Soul, I Don't Want to Talk About It, Jungal Book, Lockdown, Macbeth, Negative Space, One Hundred Lies, Overtones, The Blizzard, The Brother's Grimm Spectaculathon, The Idiot and the Oddity, The Insanity of Mary Girard, The Lottery, The Women of Lockerbie,

Troupes that exceed any time limit (set, performance, strike) will be disqualified.


  1. Prior to performances all performers and technicians will be assigned a dressing room. All performers and technicians must remain in their assigned dressing rooms until given permission to leave.

  2. Troupes will have 10 minutes to set and 5 minutes to return their set to their loading bay back stage.

  3. The initial set up and strike for every one act play must be done in full view of the audience

  4. Technicians may enter the booth 15 minutes prior to the beginning of his/her Troupe’s performance.

  5. Do not touch or use anything that does not belong to you or your Troupe. This includes, but is not limited to, ladders, stage weights, chairs, etc.

In Performance

  1. No video or audio recording is permitted during any one act performance.

  2. Time begins immediately after the troupe director informs the troupe stage manager to begin and the stage manager says “Go" to the Backstage Director.

  3. Time ends when the stage manager and/or troupe director informs the Backstage Director that everything is “clear,” the stage is inspected, and the Backstage Director agrees with the troupe’s stage manager. To facilitate this, the troupe director should closely monitor the entire action. Time does not end until the troupe director has certified everything is truly clear, the stage is cleaned of all debris, and everything is safely stored in the troupe’s assigned storage area.

  4. The official time will be kept by the designated Backstage Director who may at his/her discretion appoint other timekeepers to help verify his/her times. The designated Backstage Director is responsible for recording the official time.

  5. No cue or theatrical action is permitted before or after the calls of “go” and “clear” by the stage manager except as required by the Troupe Director.

  6. All music and/or sound effects must be contained within the forty-five minute time limit.

  7. Troupe directors and/or any other adult may assist in any fashion but are not permitted to act and/or be a prop within the performance.

  8. Only registered members of the performing school’s cast and crew, venue technicians, adjudicators, and those granted permission by the troupe director are permitted backstage during any performance.

  9. The use of any aerosol products (including but not limited to paint, hairspray, hair color, cleaning products, etc.) must be completely contained. None of the product can escape to the stage floor or curtains in any venue.

  10. If food or drink is used within a production, the troupe must bring their own cleaning supplies to aid in the strike of any material that falls on the stage.

  11. The spraying, throwing, sprinkling, spilling, dropping, or scattering of any liquid, powder, cleaning product, or any substance that can not be removed completely by a broom as a part of the strike is strictly forbidden. Special care should be taken if any form of glitter, powder, or confetti is used as a part of a production, costume or make-up. All remnants must be removed from the floor before each Troupe’s allotted time expires.

  12. Since brooms may not be available at all venues, each participating Troupe should supply its own. The lack of a broom will not be an excuse for not cleaning the stage within the allotted time.

  13. The use of smoke, fire, candles, matches, butane lighters, haze, fog, pyrotechnical effects or any other form of an open flame is strictly forbidden.

  14. Prop Guns: A prop gun may be used if essential to the scene as long as it meets the following criteria:

    • Troupe Director has informed the Maryland Chapter Director 30 days in advance.

    • The prop gun can not have any moving parts.

    • The prop gun must have a solid filled barrel.

    • Towson University facility managers must inspect all prop firearms prior to the performance.

    • Students may not carry or transport the prop gun to or from the performance site.

  15. Students may not jump off or on to the stage from the apron before, after, or during a performance.

  16. Plan and/or adjust your blocking to ensure all members of your troupe’s cast and crew remain within the designated acting area.

  17. Taping the floor is strictly prohibited.

  18. Do not plug anything into any electrical outlet. Submit any special electrical requirements with your registration packet.

  19. Refrain from handling or touching any curtains or masking material. Even touching a curtain with the cleanest hand can reduce the life of the material.

Post - Performance

  1. Immediately following the performance an oral critique by members of the adjudicating team at the State Festival will be presented on stage in front of the audience.

  2. A written critique of each participating troupe’s one act performance will be given to the sponsor following the close of festival.

General area lighting is available (stage right, stage left, up center, center, and down center stage) at the Maryland State Thespian Festival. Due to the nature of the event, special lighting effects can not be achieved. Sound must be provided by the production and can be played using a CD player, amplification, and speakers. Groups may use their own “boom box” or utilize an MP3 player connected to the theatre sound system. The use of microphones and/or lighting sources (other than what is provided) is not permitted. 

The use of flats is not allowed at the Maryland State Thespian Festival nor at the Chapter Select Showcase at the International Thespian Festival.  The use of set pieces and props are allowed provided the following guidelines are followed: 

  • A set piece/prop is any item that will fit through a single door and can be carried by a single person.

  • Hand props are those items to be carried onstage by the actors in one hand.

For your convenience conference room style chairs and other set pieces may be available at the venue. Please contact the Maryland State Thespian Festival One Act Coordinator Allen Price for more information on availability. If your school is invited to present in the Chapter Select Showcase at The International Thespian Festival, you will be sent detailed guidelines along with a list of stock set pieces that will be available at nationals.

Please Note: All shows must adhere to the festival rules and guidelines stated above. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.