Chicago Metro History Fair Performances & Historical Voices PDF Print E-mail

Performances are dramatic presentations of a historical interpretation based on evidence; Historical Voices are a form of public speaking that combines a speech with student analysis.


RULE 1: Individuals or groups of no more than five may participate in a dramatic performance project. No more than two students can participate in a Historical Voices project.

RULE 2: Performance may not exceed ten minutes.

RULE 3: Dramatic performances and props/scenery must be created and performed entirely by the students registered.

RULE 4: Two copies of the Summary Statement Form with an attached annotated bibliography should be submitted. Primary and secondary sources should be separated in the annotated bibliography.

RULE 5: Project topics must be based in Chicago-even if the national theme is being used. Non-Chicago topics will still be evaluated but will not be eligible to advance.  Junior HF allows topics in Illinois history.

RULE 6: Plagiarism is not accepted, and constitutes grounds for disqualification.

PENALTY POINTS (High School copies)
Exceeds Time Limit: Minus 2 points each full minute over ten minutes
(10 points maximum penalty)
No Summary Statement Form: Minus 10 points
Bibliography not annotated: Minus 5 points
No bibliography: 0 points in source category

Performances & Historical Voices Guidelines

See "Communicating Your Story" on the MAKING HISTORY page for further guidance.

  • A performance should clearly state a thesis and develop an argument as would an exhibit or paper. It should either use evidence or specifically allude to it in the script. Theatrical quality is important but, at the same time, it does not outweigh the analysis of the project. It is recommended that the historical knowledge and analysis be scrutinized before the student(s) commit to memorization of the script.

  • Students will have five minutes at the beginning of their performance and five minutes after to set up and take down any props or materials.

  • Historical Voices projects are eligible for local and state competitions, but not the National level. The Historical Voices category allows students who enjoy public speaking, but not dramatic presentations. A recitation of a historic speech (maximum four minutes) is followed by a six-minute analysis. It should discuss the impact, significance, and context from which the speech originated.

  • Performances or Historical Voices are not directly penalized for being under the 10 minute limitation, however, judges may conclude that the knowledge and analysis suffered from lack of development and evaluate the project accordingly. Try to use all of the ten minutes.

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