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Washington High School has a rich theatre and speech history, including speech team, the Forest Drive Improv Company, MuDaCo, and International Thespian Society.


Speech team is a performance based extra-curricular activity. There are two seasons for speech team: large group speech (in groups with other students), and individual speech (students perform by themselves), each with many different categories. Speech rehearses on a schedule, and then the groups and individuals go to contests to perform for other students.

There are two separate seasons, and students may participate in one or both.

Large group speech

There are 11 different categories. All are group categories, except for solo mime. Students can be in up to two groups.

  • One Act Play: a theatrical performance (dramatic or humorous) of a play or group cutting. Thirty-five minutes, costumes, set, make up, and memorized lines.
  • Reader’s Theatre: a group focused on the use of interpretive skills to present poetry, prose, and/or drama. Limited set, scripts used, 25 minutes
  • Ensemble Acting: A theatrical performance (dramatic or humorous) by two to six persons. Memorized, 15 minutes, no costumes or set
  • Choral Reading: Group interpretation of a text—uses solo and ensemble speaking. Fifteen minutes, costumes, set, scripts used
  • Group Mime: Ensemble of students creating a story or expressing a message without words. Seven minutes, two to six students per group
  • Solo Mime: One student creating a story or expressing a message without using words. Five minutes
  • Television Newscasting: A video recorded news program, can be farcical or serious. Up to 15 students, student directed, performed, produced, and edited
  • Group Improv: Creating and presenting a story motivated by drawn criteria within a limited preparation time. Two to six students per group, five minutes
  • Musical Theatre: A theatrical performance where students utilize music in the form of song or dance. Two to six students, 10 minutes, memorized
  • Radio Broadcasting: An audio recorded news program. Can be serious or humorous. Six minutes, two to six students, recorded
  • Short Film: Original productions of student film, all genres. Up to 15 students, student produced, directed, performed, and edited

Individual speech

There are 14 different categories, and all are individual performance categories. Students can be in up to two individual events.

Acting/interpretation categories

  • Acting (8 minutes): The selection(s) used will be such as normally falls within the generally understood meaning of acting material. It may be either humorous or dramatic or a combination of both. It also may be of original nature, and also may be a monologue. This category is memorized.
  • Solo Musical Theatre (5 minutes): One song no longer than 5 minutes (memorized). No lines.
  • Storytelling (5): Stories may be taken from any source (children’s literature, science fiction, classical literature, fables, mythology, etc). Storyteller must sit on a stool for the performance. This category is memorized.
  • Literary Program (8 minutes): At least one prose selection and one poetry selection, along with commentary about the material, surrounding a common theme. This category must use a script.
  • Poetry (6 minutes): One or more poetry selections in a single performance, along with commentary about the material. The material may also be original. This category must use a script.
  • Prose (6 minutes): One more more prose selections in a single performance, along with commentary about the material. The material may also be original. This category must use a script.
  • Individual Improv (5 minutes): student draws 1 situation and 2 characters, and has 3 minutes of prep time to prepare a scene using all 3 items.

Public speaking-based categories

  • Public Address (8 minutes): The presentation of another person’s material that argues, persuades, moves, or attempts to convey understanding of human experience. The speech must have a purpose for being beyond pure entertainment. You may use a notecard for this category.
  • After Dinner Speaking (5 minutes): The speaker must identify a particular audience, by using appropriate comments within the speech, to indicate the dinner party which is being addressed. The speech may be informative, impressive, inspiring, or entertaining. The speech should be enlivened with stories, anecdotes, quotations, puns, witty remarks, and humorous local and personal references. This is a student written speech, and notes (not to exceed 50 words) may be used.
  • Original Oratory (8 minutes): An oration written by the performer. The oration may be on any topic appropriate for oratorical presentation. Notes or a manuscript may be used.
  • Expository Address (6 minutes): Student written speech on any subject appropriate for platform presentation. Visual aids and costuming may be used. Notes not to exceed 50 words may be used.
  • Radio News (4-5 minutes): Students receive news copy and have 15 minutes to put together a 4-5 minute news broadcast, including a commercial. They deliver this speech over a microphone live.
  • Spontaneous Speaking (5 minutes): Students draw a topic, have 3 minutes to prepare a speech on that topic, then deliver a speech. The topics are on contemporary issues.
  • Reviewing (8 minutes): Students may review any drama, book, movie, music, concert, television show, or any other form of media or combination. Visual aids may be used. Notes may be used.

Speech frequently asked questions

The Forest Drive Improv Company

Members: Josie Norris, Indica Mutchler, Isaac Tominsky, Piper Jackman, Abby Owens, Isak West, Max Pospisl, Max Cline, Harrison Ginsberg

Rehearsals: Fridays after school at 1:45/3 p.m. in Mr. Sheetz’s room


MuDaCo is an annual variety show at Washington High School, and stands for music, dance, and comedy. It contains all sorts of acts: musical performances, magic shows, stand-up comedy, dance routines, juggling—any talent we can find at Wash! In addition to student performances, there are some teacher performances, and lots of comedy skits by our comedy troupe.

Visit our Youtube channel for MuDaCo videos!

International Thespian Society

The International Thespian Society (ITS) is the Educational Theatre Association’s student honorary organization. ITS recognizes the achievements of high school and middle school theatre students. Students with enough credits earn an invitation to be inducted into the ITS.

Washington High School’s thespian troupe is troupe #2814, and it is advised by Mr. Kyle Woollums. At the end of every school year, there is a thespian banquet during which new members are inducted and awards/honors are distributed to recognize excellence in theatre.

Best Thespian

Up to two recipients of this award are chosen each year by our thespian troupe director. Recent award winners include:

  • 2019—Ozzie Wilcox
  • 2018—Quinn Wilcox and Araya Dunne
  • 2017—Allie Klinsky
  • 2016—Harrison Shaffer and Jacqueline Fashimpaur
  • 2015—Taylor Luke
  • 2014—Elijah Wolter
  • 2013—Cassandra Kittredge