Dramatic Interpretation Acting
Oral Interpretation of Poetry Original Persuasive Oratory (Sr. only)
Religious Reading Extemporaneous Speaking (Sr. only)
Declamation Oral Interpretation of Scripture
Humorous Interpretation Readers’ Theatre


Choric Speaking

Artistic Signing

General Rules:  Since the guidelines and rules on this page are meant as an overview, once there is interest in a category it is necessary to read the exact requirements in the AACS Manual.  There may be specific rules that need to be followed.

  • All material should be in good taste and of high quality, and from reputable authors. No “author unknown” pieces are acceptable.  Entries will not be restricted to sacred themes.  However, entries which reflect anti-biblical themes, content, and/or word usage (including profanity or suggestive language) – or which contain sensualism, humanism, or worldliness ( including offensive performance) – will be disqualified.  CHEWV notes that literature-based selections seem to be preferred over other kinds of selections.
  • No “author unknown” pieces are acceptable.
  • Three typewritten copies of the selection must be submitted to the judges prior to the performance.
  • A lectern may be used in the category of Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking only.
  • The judge will confirm the speaker, selection and author.  The judge will then announce to the individual or group, “you may begin.” Timing and adjudication will begin immediately.
  • The student must first introduce himself and cite the name of the selection and author and then timing will begin.
  • The same selection cannot be performed in two consecutive years.
  • The following rules apply to Categories 2,3,4,5,6, and 10.  a) Body movement should be primarily, but not limited to, movement above the waist. B) No hand props or costume pieces will be permitted. 3) all selections will be taken from published works. D) In addition to the introduction the participant may also provide the audience with necessary background information in order to set the mood for the piece.  He may also give transitional narrative for clarity within the piece.  These additions combined are not to exceed one minute and are included in the time limit.
  • Selected students will be chosen from the first session to participate in the final competition session.
  • Singing of a song during a speech is to be limited to no more than one verse of the song or no more than 1.5 minutes of the speech.  In addition, no instrument may be used to accompany the individual or group during the speech performance.

Time Limits:

Senior High – 5-10 min.         Junior High 3-9 min.                    Elem. 2-8 min.

Unless otherwise noted.

Point Deductions for Elem/Jr. High only

  1. No script -5 points
  2. Only one copy of script   -2 points
  3. Over or under time by 15 to 60 seconds  (15 second grace period)  -5 points
  4. Over or under time by over 60 seconds    -5 points
  5.  Not using KJV – -5 points

Since the guidelines and rules on this page are meant as an overview, once there is interest in a category it is necessary to read the exact requirements in the AACS Manual.  There may be specific rules that need to be followed.


Category 2: Dramatic Interpretation– memorized oral interpretation of a serious selection of narrative or dramatic literature. , Sr. high 5-10 min., Jr. high 3-9 min., Elementary 2-8 min.

Category 3: Oral Interpretation of Poetry– memorized, Sr. high 5-10 min., Jr. high 3-9 min., Elementary 2-8 min.

Category 4: Religious Reading– memorized oral interpretation of prose, Sr. high 5-10 min., Jr. high 3-9 min., Elementary 2-8 min.

Category 5: Declamation– memorized persuasive or inspirational material, Sr. high 5-10 min., Jr. high 3-9 min., Elementary 2-8 min.

Category 6: Humorous Interpretation– memorized, cuttings taken from plays or prose.  Selections with multiple characters are preferred.  Sr. high 5-10 min., Jr. high 3-9 min., Elementary 2-8 min.

Category 7: Extemporaneous Speaking

Definition: A persuasive speech on a current issue. The student will be given 30 minutes of preparation time. Topics, drawn randomly, will be from the January, February, and March issues of various news magazines. Contact Fine Arts coordinator for more information.
1. Topics will be stated as questions requiring the student to take a position on the issue.
2. At ten-minute intervals each student will draw three topic cards. The student will select one topic and advise the judge of his choice. All three topic cards will then be returned to the judge for subsequent drawings. Prior to a final round (if one is needed) all topic cards used in the preliminary rounds will be discarded.
3. Students will prepare speeches without consultation and without references to prepared notes.
a. Students may access research brought with them to the competition during the preparation period.
b. Students should review news articles and opinion pieces from reputable sources.
c. Student research and speech references are not limited to the magazines from which topics will be drawn. Research documents may be paper or electronic.
d. Students may not access the Internet during the 30-minute prep period.
e. All articles referenced must be printed or stored on a laptop or tablet.
f. Referenced documents may be originals or copies of whole pages.
g. No written material is permitted on any referenced document other than citation information.
h. Underlining or highlighting on referenced documents is permitted if done in only one color on each article.
i. Students may access no other material during the preparation period—no speeches, handbooks, outlines, or briefs are permitted.
4. Students will not receive any assistance during preparation time.
5. A student is permitted to use one 3 x 5 card for notes.
6. The timekeeper will show numbered cards nine through one at one-minute intervals during the speech to alert the speaker of remaining time.
7. A competing student is not permitted to listen to other students until after he has completed his speech.

Category 8: Original Persuasive Oratory– memorized, (may use 3×5 card), only 10% direct quotation, 5-10 minutes long, Sr. High only  Three typewritten scripts must be submitted to the judge at performance time.  Poster, chart, etc. will not be allowed.  Small hand props or costume pieces may be used.

Category 9: Acting

Definition: A stage performance in which two to six individuals each portray one character without the use of script, costumes, staging, lights, sound effects, or makeup.

1. Cuttings must be taken from published dramatic literature, published plays by a reputable author, or from published prose that has been scripted for stage.

2. Acting will develop understandable scenes with clear character action and reaction. The scene(s) should grow through increased insight, intensification of plot or mood, and thematic statement.

3. Actors may speak to silent or off-stage characters.

4. Each actor may portray only one character.

5. Narration: A brief introduction or scene description may be given, but is not required, for each scene change. The narration must be done by one or more of the actors. The narration may be done by any of the actors and does not violate the requirement that each actor may portray only one character.

6. Full costuming is not permitted. Actors may make use of small hand props and costume accessories (such as an umbrella, shawl, gloves, hat, glasses, etc.). In a quality performance, small props may be used appropriately to enhance the performance and props are not used excessively so that they distract from the performance.

7. Participants must be able to perform their scene(s) in an acting space of approximately 18’ x 10’.

8. Prohibited elements in this category include Readers Theatre performances, full costuming, makeup, lighting, and furniture other than a table and chairs, stools, or boxes.

Category 10: Oral Interpretation of Scripture– memorized, one long or two short passages, KJV only, Sr. high 5-10 min., Jr. high 3-9 min., Elementary 2-8 min.  A passage with dialogue in which characters speak is recommended. The interpreter should use the dramatic ―V‖ as in other interpretation categories.

Category 11: Readers’ Theatre– oral presentation of dramatic, poetic, or prose, Sr. High -5-13 minutes, Jr. High 4-12 min., Elem. 3-11 min. long by a group.  (Ask coordinator for additional guidelines.)

Category 12: Choric Speaking– an oral group presentation utilizing some or all of the following techniques: unison speaking, solo speaking, vocal effects, word color, dramatic climax, and group movement, group size consists of 7 to 15 individuals, memorized, 5-13 minutes long Sr. High,  Jr. High 4-12,Elem. 3-11 min.   Please request additional rules from the fine arts coordinator.

Category 13: Artistic Signing (for the deaf) – in ASL, it should be intended for a larger audience (rather than conversational) and paced with a recorded song or recorded spoken Word.  Should be expressive in nature.  SH Time Limit – 2 1/2-4 min., JH Time Limit – 2-4 min., Elementary Time Limit – 1  1/2-3 min.