National History Day How to:Creating a Performance
What is a Performance?• A live dramatic presentation performed as an individual orgroup.• Scripted•Based on research•Structured around thesis statement,supporting statements, and conclusion•Tip: It is not just a recitation of ahistorical paper!
The BasicsCheck the Contest Rule Book for complete rules• Time limit: 10 minutes to perform. 5minutes to set up and break down.• Media: Only the performers can operate it.• Costumes: Create own, have one made,rent, borrow. Do not have to be expensiveto be accurate.• Live performance: Don’t be afraid!Everyone watching is there to support you.
What Makes aPerformance Different?• Presented live.• You have to develop a strong narrative sothat your story unfolds in a dramatic andvisually interesting way.• You wear costumes andhave props.• Have to memorize yourscript.
What does yourproject need to “do”?• Tell a story• Reveal change over time• Consider historicalperspective• Provide context• Ask questions• Draw conclusions• Find facts
How do Ichoose a topic?• Brainstorm topics related tothe theme.• Learn what historicalresources are nearby.• Think through controversialtopics.• Choose something you thinkis interesting!
How do Iresearch my topic?•Start with secondary sources•They help you understand yourtopic more completely.•Will point you toward primarysources.•Help you pick the specific themesand key questions you want toaddress and ask.Can I use websites?•Yes, but don’t do all your researchthere.
How do Iresearch my topic?• Primary sources!– NHD defines these as materials directlyrelated to a topic by time or participation.– Sources can be both primary and secondarydepending on how it’s used.– Look in the footnotes and bibliographies ofsecondary sources to find them.– Talk to a librarian, historian,teacher, or archivist!
Evaluating yoursources• Not all primary sources are primary to yourtopic.• Think about these questions:– What type of source is it?– What is the date?– Who created it?– Where was it produced?
What do Iput in a performance?• Remember you only have 10 minutes.• Does it fit the theme?• Does it further the story you’re telling?• Is it visually interesting?• How many characters will you need to tellyour story?• Does it convey the importance of theevents or theory?
Your “Script”• A 10 minute performance = roughly 5 double-spacedpages.• Clear thesis and strong supporting points.• Historical accuracy.• Range of emotion.• Action! This is a performance.• Compelling narrative with conflict and resolution.• Strong conclusion.• Do you need audio/visual aids?• Edit, double check, rewrite.• Check out the library or ask your teacher for examples.
What should myperformance look like?• Consider your sets and props. You only have 5 minutesto set up. Doesn’t need to be elaborate to tell your story.• Consider where you will stand, move, orrelate to your set.• Consider your costumes. Consult originalphotographs or costume guides. You must bethe one making all the decisions about it.• Sometimes simple is better.• Have fun with it!
Your AnnotatedBibliography and Citations• Bibliography: List of sources typed that you consulted in creatingyour performance. Keep a working bibliography as you research.• Annotations: Brief descriptions of how the source was useful toyour research.• For both annotations and citations refer use the MLA orTurabian style manuals.– Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, andDissertations.– Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.
Tips!• Watch your posture, gestures, motion, and voice.• Do not rush!• Memorize the action, emotion, and content with the words.• Focus on certain characters rather than narrating an entirebiography or timeline.• Establish your scene right away.• Again, less can be more! Your research, argument, and solidscript are the most important.• The performance stands alone: Judges should be able find allyour information in the performance.• Practice, practice, practice. Alone and in front of anaudience.
But, what if Ihave questions?• That’s easy, contact: Cheryl Caskey email@example.com or 502-564-1792ext.4461.• Or, visit: http://nhd.org/CreatingEntry.htm.• Or, visit: www.facebook.com/kyjhs.• Or, visit: www.history.ky.gov.