Main Stage at ITF

Main Stage at ITF

The opportunity to perform on the main stage during the International Thespian Festival is the dream of many programs across the country. These shows represent the best and the brightest, and there will never be a more energetic and appreciative audience supporting their fellow Thespians.

Below is some information on the program and how to apply to have your show adjudicated. If you have any questions, email us at

Applications to have a show adjudicated for ITF 2019 has been closed.

Submission information:

    1. Selection rotation - Directors, chapters and/or troupes will not be eligible for a main stage performance slot 2 years in a row. This rules began in the 2017-18 school year. 
    2. Submission requirement - Any troupe wishing to be considered for ITF main stage must submit their application by October 15, 2018. No late entries will be considered.
      1. A $250 application fee is due at the time of the application. This $250 will be applied toward the direct cost of the adjudication but is not refundable.
        1. The total, direct cost of the adjudication depends on the day selected:
          • Thursdays = $1,675
          • Fridays = $1,525
          • Saturdays = $1,325
        2. The full payment (as noted above) must be received 8 weeks prior to the adjudicated production. Cancellations are allowed within 8 weeks of the production with no additional administrative fees.
    3. Seasons - All applications are due by October 15, 2018. This is because we will be breaking the main stage adjudication school year into two seasons - fall and spring.
      1. Fall - shows adjudicated by December 31, 2018.
      2. Spring - shows adjudicated by April 1, 2019.
      3. Main stage spots will be held in proportion to the number of shows submitted.
        1. For example – If 36 shows are submitted for 11 main stage slots with the ratio of 12 in the fall and 24 in the spring, then fall will be awarded 4 slots and spring will be awarded 7 slots.
      4. Shows will be selected based on the highest scores per season.
        1. In the event of a tie or other extenuating circumstances, the main stage adjudication committee will make the final selections. It’s important to note, if anyone on the main stage adjudication committee has a conflict of interest, they will be excluded from the discussion and voting.
        2. Shows not selected will be invited to a wait list to fill spots if they become available. The additional slots will combine the fall and spring seasons and order them by highest score.
          • In January, a note will be sent to fall schools not selected to confirm their interest in being considered as an alternate should an opening become available. Those schools will be notified in the spring announcement period.
        3. Selected shows will be contacted directly and announced in the EdTA News & Notes on:
          1. January 5, 2019 for fall.
          2. April 5, 2019 for spring.
    4. Consistency in performance - Similar to NIEs, the show that has been awarded a main stage slot must be substantially the same as presented originally. Examples include:
      1. If the original show had live musicians, the main stage show must bring live musicians.
      2. If the full show was selected, a concert version cannot be substituted.
      3. If there are any changes to casting (emergency or otherwise), it must be submitted and approved by the main stage adjudication committee prior to the event.
    5. Adjudicator restrictions - Judges cannot judge:
      1. In seasons where they or their school is submitting a show.
      2. In their primary state.

To perform on the International Thespian Festival (ITF) main stage, a school must meet the following requirements:

  • All production participants must be officially registered delegates for the entire week of ITF.
  • Main stage directors must arrive on Monday. Considerations will be made for individual troupe needs, but directors must be onsite Monday morning.
  • Main stage groups must have a stage crew to mount and strike the set.
  • Scenery, props, costumes, makeup, etc., must be supplied by the performing groups. Some riser units can be provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for use as scenic pieces.
  • Study and adhere to Stage Safety guidelines as defined and referenced below.

Note: To give as many schools as possible the chance to perform at ITF, schools may present in only one ITF venue: main stage, Freestyle Theatre, or the Chapter Select Showcase. If your school is performing on the main stage then your school cannot perform as part of Freestyle Theatre or the Chapter Select Showcase.

The production the adjudicators see must be the same production presented at ITF.

Do not present a full-length production for screening if you are interested in a one-hour slot, and vice versa. Do not plan to substitute cast members or make major changes in your scenery, costumes, technical effects, etc., for your presentation at ITF without consulting with and approval from the National Office.

Full-length productions

Full-length productions must not exceed two and a half hours. They may be scheduled in the afternoon and the evening, Monday through Saturday. Larger productions will be allowed a maximum of four hours to set-up. Lighter tech productions will be allowed one and a half hours.

One-hour productions

One-hour productions must not exceed sixty minutes. They may be scheduled during the afternoon and the evening, Monday through Saturday. One-hour productions will be allowed forty-five minutes to set-up. Do not mount elaborate scenery or technical effects. No special lighting or sound effects will be permitted for one-hour productions.

The Lied

Playing space: stage, 38’ deep by 48’ wide and orchestra pit, level with the stage, 13’ deep by 62’ wide.

With advanced approval, additional set-up and prep time may be allowed in the Lied scene shop. Schools invited to present in the Lied will be asked to present their shows twice and must provide 4,400 printed programs.

For more information click: "What to Expect: Lied Center Mainstage Load-In"

The Kimball

Playing space: 35’ deep by 42’ wide.

The orchestra pit is 7’ by 53’ and will remain covered. Shows invited to present in the Kimball may be asked to present their show two times and must provide 1,700 programs.

For more information click: "What to Expect: Kimball Mainstage Load-In"

Stage Safety Guidelines

In an effort to support our teachers and provide a safe performance experience, EdTA and ITF have partnered with the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) to provide stage safety resources and educational materials. Over time, this set of resources will grow. As of this date, the following standards and resources must be reviewed and adhered to by any program performing on a mainstage at ITF:

Fall Prevention resources:

Walking and Working Surfaces (OSHA 1910.25)
Guidance on OSHA standards for Work Surfaces/Platforms
Stairways and Ladder Safety (OSHA 1926.1052)
Guidance on OSHA requirements for Guardrail and Safety Railing Compliance

Production allocation

The ITF will reimburse main stage performing groups for a portion of production expenses for one performance only. The funds may be used for costumes, makeup, props, scenery, programs, and other costs associated with producing the show at ITF.

Production expense allocations are made according to the following:

  • Full-length musicals, up to $2,750
  • Full-length drama/comedy, up to $1,750
  • One-hour comedy/drama/musical, up to $1,000

Transportation allocation

Each producing school will receive transportation expense allocations from ITF to assist with the costs of transporting scenery, costumes, etc. This allocation does not include reimbursement for student transportation. Transportation expense allocations will be established on the basis of AAA mileage charts.

Transportation expense allocations are made according to the following schedule:

  • Schools 0 to 500 miles from Lincoln, up to $750
  • Schools 501 to 1,000 miles from Lincoln, up to $1,250
  • Schools 1,001 to 1,500 miles from Lincoln, up to $1,750
  • Alaska and Hawaii schools, up to $2,750
  • All overseas schools, up to $3,500

In 2020 ITF is moving to the campus of Indiana University (read more). For those interested, below is the information on the theatre:


Auditorium Theatre


Proscenium (maximum opening)


48’-68’w x 0-32’h

Stage Depth

36’ (to last avail working lines)

Full – 64’-1”, PL- US LS 55’-2”

Height (floor to grid)



Wing Space

SL – 20’-0”, SR – 25’-1” to the flyrail

51’ SR & 51’ SL

Overall wide of the stages



Size of the orchestra lift

13’ us/ds x 50’4” W (curved)

DS 64’ x 6’-6” US 59’ x 10’-6” both curved

Size of the orchestra pit

Additional 5’ x 50’ available
if row 1-2 is removed

~70’ x 20’-9”