Thespys are Performance and Technical categories open to all Thespians!  Present your best work, and be considered  for state-level recognition and eligibility to present at the International Thespian festival, all while receiving specific and individualized feedback!

Freshmen and sophomores may compete in one category, and juniors and seniors may compete in one or two different categories.

All EdTA rules must be followed, including those for slating, dress code, and sets/props. Be sure to read the rules for your specific category carefully (linked in the table below).

Directing and Props Design entries are not eligible for the International Thespian Festival.

CategoryTime Limit
Solo Acting3 minutes to present 2 contrasting Monologues
Duet and Group Acting5 minutes to present 1 Scene
Musical Theatre Performance
(solo duet, and group separate categories)
5 minutes to present 1 Song
Musical Theatre Dance
(solo, duet, and group all compete)
5 minutes to present 1 Dance
Short Film (submit online by Jan 31)No in-person presentation
5 minutes + 1 minute for credits
Playwriting (submit online by Jan 31)No in-person presentation
The play must be 20 minutes or fewer (approx. 20 typed pages)
Directing5-8 minute presentation + 5 minute scene
Costume Construction5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A
Costume Design5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A
Hair & Make-up Design5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A
Lighting Design5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A
Props Design5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A
Scenic Design5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A
Sound Design5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A
Stage Management5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A
Theatre Marketing5-8 minute presentation + 4 minute Q&A


Please see the EdTA Page on Rights & Licensing for guidance, and for a list of pre-approved publishers and titles!

Some outstanding Thespy performances may be invited to perform on mainstage. If you are interested in performing mainstage, you must follow Mainstage content guidelines.


Performers & presenters receive written feedback from judges using the rubrics on the webpages linked above.  Directing, Short Film, and Playwriting are adjudicated online before State Festival. All other categories are adjudicated based on in-person performances or presentations at State Festival.

Students who receive an overall Superior rating are invited to the next round of Thespys at the International Thespian Festival in Bloomington, IN. An overall Superior rating is achieved when the majority of adjudicators score the Thespy in the Superior range based on the official Thespy rubrics (see links for category-specific rubrics).


$35 per Thespy (please note that this is NOT per student; entries in all categories have the same fee regardless of whether it is a solo, duet, or group event)

How to Apply:

  1. Troupe Directors add EACH Thespy to their troupe’s online registration (due Jan 31).  
  1. Submit pre-festival categories via Open Water by Jan 31:
  • Playwriting
  • Short Film
  1. Submit your Thespy Title via Open Water by March 1:
  • An Open Water form is required for EACH THESPY EVENT
  • Rights clearance is required for Monologues, Duet Acting, and Group Acting
  • Submitted titles may be changed for a $35 fee until March 15.  No changes will be permitted after March 15.

NEW IN 2024: No paper rubrics are required!

Please contact if you have any questions!

California State Thespians is committed to promoting diversity on all levels. We embrace inclusive casting for every role, and fully supports each student’s choice to select material that speaks to them. Race, ethnic origin, gender and sexual orientation should not influence the evaluation of student performances at California Thespian events and competitions.

(Special consideration may be taken where race is germane to the text.)


Updated October 27, 2023