Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild

Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild

The Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild, commonly known as METG and previously known as the Massachusetts High School Drama Guild until its name changed in 2010[1] is, according to their website, an organisation "for the charitable and educational purpose of promoting and strengthening excellence, access, and education in the theatrical arts for middle and secondary school students and teachers." Each year the METG organizes the state-wide high school theatre festival in March, as well as several other programs throughout the year.

A recent METG Festival entry.


High School festival

The Massachusetts State Drama Festival takes place over the course of the month of March, in the state of Massachusetts. Any school may enter, provided the play they intend to perform is approved by the principal of the performing school and the entry form is submitted to the METG. There are three levels of competition: preliminary, semi-final, and state.

Festival rules

Some of the rules include:[2]

  • No play may run for more than 40 minutes (timed by three "timers"; the shortest time is accepted as the running time).
  • No play may involve a set-up time or strike time of more than five minutes (timed by the Technical Director of the host site).
  • All rules of the host site apply.
  • Each play must be approved by the principal of the presenting school.
  • Schools may not perform shows that were performed the year before at the State Finals.
  • Schools may not perform any play they have performed in the past three years.
  • Schools may not perform a musical of any kind, unless given permission by the playwright to perform the piece without the musical/singing component. However, a school may include live music, vocal and/or instrumental, if given previous permission from the METG.

Preliminary round

All schools are placed into preliminary host sites around the state. From each site, three schools are chosen to move on to the semi-final round. There is a "1st place," "2nd Place," and "3rd Place", however the rank of a school is only disclosed to the committee which assigns schools to semi-final sites. This phase of the festival takes place over the course of a Saturday, usually the first weekend in March.

Semi-Final Round

The winners of the preliminary round are placed in the seven semi-final host sites. From each site, two schools are chosen to move on to state finals at the Back Bay Events Center. Again, there is a 1st and 2nd place winner, however the rank of a school is not disclosed, except to the committee, which meets to select time slots for state finals. As with the preliminary round, the semi-final takes place on a Saturday, two weeks after the preliminary round.

State Finals

The 14 winners from semi-final level are brought to the Back Bay Events Center in Boston for a weekend of one-act plays. This round of the festival is held on the last weekend in March from Thursday through Saturday. There, three winners are chosen to represent Massachusetts at the New England Drama Festival. If any of the three winning schools cannot attend the New England Drama Festival, they will be replaced by the alternate winner. In the event that the three winners and the alternate cannot attend, which was most recently the case in the 2008 festival, the next two schools ranked after the first alternate are selected to attend the regional festival. Like the two previous rounds of competition, the rank of a school is not disclosed, unless they are declared the winner, alternate, or additional alternate. The State Finals event is accompanied by a "Festival Video" (a montage of clips shot throughout the three days) that directly precedes the awards ceremony.

State Finalists for the 2011 Drama Festival

(In Order Of Appearance)

For Drama Festival 2012, none of these shows may be performed by any school in the Guild, nor can they be performed by the presenting school for the next three years.

All Star Company

Each year at the State Finals, the METG gives awards to members of what is called the All Star Company. Each school participating in finals will have at least one member of the All Star Company, named for excellence in categories including acting, make-up design, ensemble acting, lighting design, sound design, costume design, hair design, properties design, set design, technical design, music design, stage management and directing.

Drama Festival History

Since 1928, 64 schools have won the Drama Festival's top prize. Cambridge Rindge and Latin School has won 15 times with three alternates. St. John's Preparatory School is second with 13 wins and three alternates, and Revere is third with 11 wins and no alternates. The first drama festival took place over a single day and featured four schools. Since then, the festival has grown to 120 schools in 2008.

Other Programs

Middle School Festival

The middle school festival is similar to the high school festival, in that schools are scattered to various host sites throughout the day. However, there is only one round of competition, and from each host site "gold", "silver", and "bronze" places are awarded. This program is more recent, starting in 1995.

Logo Design Contest

Each year, the METG choses a new logo to represent the high school festival on T-shirts, programs, etc. Logos are submitted by students from member schools. The 2010 winner was Raymond Harrison, from Leominster High School.

2007's Logo Contest Winner

Set Design Contest

Students from member schools may submit models and sketches of set designs for various shows to be judged. Winners receive a scholarship from the METG. This program usually takes place in the winter months. The 2010 winner was Sean Lynch, from Leominster High School for Lion and Mouse Stories.

Costume Design Contest

The METG runs a costume design contest, where aspiring costumers can design a set of costumes for a show to be judged. Winners receive a cash prize from the METG and have their costumes displayed at finals of the Massachusetts State Drama Festival. The 2010 winner was Caitlin O'Toole, from St. Mary's High School for The Wizard of Oz.

Monologue Contest

Each year the METG offers students a chance to earn college scholarships based on presentation and performance. Students perform two contrasting monologues at a designated school in winter, where the winners are chosen. Top finishers perform their monologues at the state finals in late March. The 2010 winners were Rebecca Turner, from The Bromfield School; Paris Ellsworth, from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School; and Kristen McCusker, from Westford Academy.

Playwriting Contest

Aspiring playwrights must submit their original plays to the METG by January. These plays will be reviewed by a panel of judges to determine the finalists, and one judge, Mr. Chris Lacy, will choose a winning play. The winning playwright receives a cash prize and a staged reading at the state finals in March. The 2010 winners were Daniel Rider, from Hingham High School, with "Edits"; and Patrick Greeley, from Framingham High School, with "The Devil's Advocate".

Scene Partner Contest

Students in grades 9–11 can enter this contest, where scene partners present a three-minute excerpt from a play to a panel of adjudicators. Applicants are judged on the basis of their ability to demonstrate concentration, control of material, flexibility and versatility of voice, movement and expression. Both actors should pursue strong, clear objectives and make varied and specific acting choices. The 2010 winners were Brendan Leonard & Connor Doherty, from St. John's Prep. Honorable mentions were Margaret French & Gwen Morgan, from North Middlesex Regional High School; and Erin Gilgen & Tim Marple, from Westford Academy.


The METG also offers workshops for students and teachers throughout the year. Topics include acting, lighting design, scenic design, costume design, choreography, and improvisation.


  1. ^ MHDSG becomes METG, With the addition of the middle school division a few years ago, the METG successfully expanded its reach to a new population. To be more inclusive of the both the high school and middle school divisions, the membership voted this year to change the name of the organization to the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild.
  2. ^ METG High School Festival Form

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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