Speech Arts Categories & Classes




It is the responsibility of the participant to provide a typed copy/outline of their selection to the festival. Students should also bring the published work to provide (where applicable) proof of copyright.





In poetry the language is molded into some, kind of design, in prose it is not.


Lyric Poetry: A short, unified poem expressing the poet's own experience and emotion to be presented in a relaxed manner with limited movement. (Examples: Solitude by Bliss Carman; To Autumn by Keats; Sonnets of Shakespeare and Wordsworth).
Time limit: 5 minutes


Humorous Poetry: Any poem of light or humorous nature.  
Time limit: 3 minutes 


Performance Poetry: A performance poem is one that has been composed specifically for performance before an audience. Poems in this category express the poet's own experience, and movement is allowed. Please remember that language must be appropriate for all ages in a mixed audience.
Time limit: 3 minutes

Narrative Poetry: A poem which tells a story and usually has dialogue. The telling of a story is the primary concern of the speaker (e.g., Hiding by Dorothy Aldis; The King's Breakfast by A. A. Milne; The Raven by E. A. Poe; The Cattle Thief by Pauline Johnson). A portion of a longer poem may be chosen rather than the complete work. Gestures may be included to enhance the telling of the story.  
Time limit: 3 minutes


Canadian Poetry: Any poem on any theme written by a Canadian poet.

Time limit: 3 minutes


 Poetry for Two Voices: A poetry selection arranged for and performed by two people. Poems that are conversations, dialogues, or have distinct moods work well. Movement and acting may be included.

Time limit: 5 minutes


Poetry for Trio or Quartet:  A poetry selection arranged for and performed by three or four people. Poems that are conversation dialogues, or have distinct moods work well. Movement and acting may be included.

Time limit:  5 minutes

Original Poetry: The participant will perform his/her own original work from memory. Please note that the adjudicator must be provided with a copy of the poem.
Time limit: 3 minutes


Sonnet/Sonnet Sequence:  A sonnet or 2 linked sonnets with brief commentary explaining the connection.
Time Limit:  4 minutes

I Like This Poem: Any poem performed in a style suitable to its poetic form.
Time Limit: 3minutes


In prose the speaker is the narrator. The focus should be on the voice, with vocal characterization and quality of prose maintained. While gesture is encouraged, movement around the stage should be very limited. Speakers may stand or be seated.

Memorized Prose: A concise selection of a few paragraphs from a novel or story that form a dramatic unit. Spoken in storytelling style, using the exact words of the author. Editing is permitted where quality of the prose can be maintained. A balance of narration and dialogue is optimal.
Time limit: 5 minutes


Literary Monologue: Entrants perform a monologue, usually of the "personal experience" type. May be comic or serious. This is not part of a longer play, but a speech from a diary, letter, solo monologue, or writing in the first person. If the speech in question is actually part of a longer play, it should be entered in the Dramatic Solo class. Very limited movement and/or dramatization may be included. Note: Simple costumes and props may be used.  
Time limit: 5 minutes

Storytelling: This may be an original or the retelling of a known story, fairytale, myth, or legend. Stories must be told, not read, and should sound spontaneous rather than memorized. The storyteller should differentiate between characters and have eye contact with the audience. Competitors are required to provide a only a brief outline of their story.
Time limit: 5 minutes


 Creative Storytelling: The adjudicator presents a picture to the competitor who then creates a story pertaining to it. There will be one minute to prepare. All stories should have a beginning, middle and an end, with characters, setting and a plot. Presentation should follow storytelling format.

Time limit: 2 minutes


Sight Reading:  Students will be presented with a selection of prose or poetry. After a 60-second study time, they will read the passage aloud. The intention is to communicate the ideas to the audience, and 'lift the thoughts off the page' using good speech and interpretive skills. Students will remain out of the performance auditorium during their class, until it is their turn. After they have read, they can stay inside to watch the others.
Time limit: n/a


In drama the speaker is the character portrayed. Simple props and costumes may be used. Blocking with motivated movement is encouraged.

Dramatic Solo: The selection should be the words of one character only with the words of other characters omitted. Stand-alone monologues (not from longer plays) or adaptations from stories are permissible if they can be performed dramatically as if part of a play. Blocking/movement and simple staging appropriate to the scene are encouraged.
Time limit: 6 minutes

Drama Duo*/Trio/Group: A scene for 2 - 8 characters taken from a published play, and performed as if part of the whole play. Each actor assumes the language, movement and dress of the character portrayed.
Time limit: 10 minutes.

Shakespeare Solo: A speech of one character from a play by William Shakespeare. Lines of other characters may be cut, and a solo created if the sense of the passage can be maintained. The solo should be performed as if part of the whole play. For this category, selections from Shakespeare's non-dramatic poetry are not suitable.
Time limit: 5 minutes

Shakespeare Duo/Trio/Group: A scene for two or more actors from any of Shakespeare's published plays, to be performed as if from the play in its entirety. Simple costumes and props may be used.
Time limit: 8 minutes


 Mime Solo: A silent scene in which a story is told through physical movement and expression. Titles may be announced or displayed on a sign. A chair or bench may be used, but no other props are permitted.

Time limit: 4 minutes


Mime Duo/Trio/Group: A silent scene performed by 2 - 8 players, developing the story through movement, expression and mime. The title may be announced or displayed on a sign. Chairs, stools or benches may be used, but no other props.
Time limit: 6 minutes


Recital classes allow students to perform more of their festival repertoire in a single session. Provincial speech arts moved to a recital style scheduling in 2017.


Concert Group: 

Ages 5-10 years:  Any 3 speech arts selections performed in any order as a continuous concert. Students should announce titles and authors only.
Time Limit:  8 minutes.


Ages 11+:  One selection of poetry, prose and drama performed in any order as a continuous concert. Primary, Junior, and Intermediate students should announce titles and authors only.  Senior students should include commentary introducing the titles and authors and explaining the selection. Senior students may include a sonnet in addition to the three required pieces.  Senior/Adult Programs should be joined in theme. Costume changes and addition of props must be done without leaving the playing area.

Time limit: Junior - 12 minutes; Intermediate - 15 minutes; Senior/Adult - 20 minutes.


Public Speaking and Storytelling: One selection of original Public Speaking and one selection of Storytelling.  


Time limit: 

Junior (11-13 years) - 10 mins. max

Intermediate (16 years and under) - 12 mins. max

Senior (23 years and under) - 15 mins. max





Public Speaking requires students to organize and articulate their knowledge. Without communication skills, the ability to progress in the working world, and in life itself, would be nearly impossible. Public speaking is one of the most important forms of communication.


Public Speaking: A prepared, structured speech on a topic chosen by the speaker; delivered in a deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners. The style should be extemporaneous: well-rehearsed yet spontaneous sounding. Speeches that are memorized or read from a manuscript are not encouraged. Notes on cards may be used. An outline of the speech’s content should be submitted.
Time limit: 6 minutes


Impromptu Public Speaking: Entrants are required to speak for 2 to 3 minutes on a subject supplied by the adjudicator. All aspects of delivery will be judged. Five minutes preparation time will be allowed.
Time limit: 5 minutes


Choral Speaking -   This is a group presentation of one or two selections of poetry or prose chosen to demonstrate contrast. The group works with a text, orchestrating with the human voice as instrument, using solo and massed voices of different colour and quality, creating vocal sound-effects with dynamic effect.  Some solo and small group voices may be included. There may be actions or gestures performed by the chorus, but no movement from place to place once the piece has begun. A leader may conduct the performance but may not participate verbally. Time limit: 10 minutes


Choric Drama - A dramatic presentation by 10 to 30 entrants in which the chorus plays a major role in the action, either as a commentator or to advance the narrative. The chorus may play in unison or have solo voices in combination. Props/costumes/movement/music are permitted, provided the set-up can be done in under 5 minutes. A leader may conduct the performance but may not participate verbally. Lines must be memorized. One selection only.
Time limit: 10 minutes


Readers' Theatre: A group of not more than 12 readers present a play or story in the Readers' Theatre style, holding manuscripts, which may be read from. No costumes. There may be some movement, but emphasis should be on the voice. Participants may sit or stand, or the group may do a combination of the two. Participants may work from copies of the script, but the adjudicator should receive both the original (published) and a copied version.
Time limit: 15 minutes