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American Heritage Center

Wyoming History Day: Pointers for a Successful Performance


There are two skill areas that you need to master to create a successful performance:

  • Content: Content reflects the information and interpretation developed during research.
  • Process: Process is the creative transformation of these insights into the performance

And there are three components that must be present in every performance:

  • Thesis Statement: Introduces audience to the main ideas of a presentation.
  • Explanation: Use body of the performance to explain the main ideas.
  • Conclusion: Summarize ideas at the end of the performance

But most importantly there are two key elements at the heart of every performance:

  • Information: The goal of a History Day performance is to present the substance of research on a topic.
  • Dramatization: The goal of a History Day performance is to engage the audience in a dramatic portrayal
  • The successful History Day performance is a balance between these two key elements.

Creating an Effective Performance

  • Select topic
    • Conduct general research to narrow topic
    • Research secondary sources to develop thesis
    • Research available primary sources to support conclusions
    • Select key elements of research to develop script outline
    • Determine cast of characters and develop a scenario for each
    • Create a plot summary for each character
    • Develop script and incorporate element of staging
  • Elements of an Effective Script
    • Introduces audience to the main idea of the topic at the beginning of a performance
    • Explains these ideas in the body of the work and establishes a clear connection to the annual theme
    • Summarizes the key points in a conclusion that reflects the importance of the topic in history
  • Elements of an Effective Character
    • Works in harmony with information they are presenting
    • Tells a story that helps to interpret topic
    • Keeps the performance focused on the theme
  • Elements of Effective Staging
    • Establish a clear scenario
    • Performers must quickly establish who they are and the context of their presentation
    • Performers must decide if they will use first person or third person
    • Performers must establish a relationship with the audience
    • Props – can be used to introduce historical content

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