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Rules and Roles



  • may send one or two English teachers to attend the competition briefing sessions on 16 October (optional);
  • must send one or preferably two English teachers (one of whom may be the NET) to attend the professional development workshop on puppetry in February (compulsory); and
  • must send one or two teacher(s) to escort students to the competition in early to mid-May, 2019 (TBC)

Teachers will need to:

  • attend the briefing if necessary;
  • hand out and collect parental consent forms for the NET Section to take images of students for later possible use for educational purposes and for uploading on to the Internet;
  • participate fully in all puppetry activities at the professional development workshop;
  • use what they have learnt to prepare their students for the competition; and
  • ensure that students are escorted to, and supervised at, the competition.

Students will need to:

  • participate fully in any training sessions organised by their teachers in preparation for the competition; and
  • participate in the competition by staging and performing a 5 – 7-minute puppet show at the competition in early to mid-May, 2019 (1 or 2 dates, depending on the number of participating schools; tentative dates pending venue confirmation). Each team will perform only once.

Conditions of Entry

  • The ‘Hands on Stage’ entry form must be submitted on or before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 30 November 2018. Late entries may NOT be considered.
  • As the NET Section competitions adopt a ‘train-the-trainer’ model, schools that are new to the competition are encouraged to send at least one teacher to the briefing session on 16 October and must send at least one teacher to the ‘Hands on Stage’ Puppetry Competition workshop in February 2019.
  • If the competition is over-subscribed, schools will be chosen by random draw.
  • Teams that pull out of the competition two weeks or less before their event will not be eligible to enter the following year.
  • A hard copy of the exact team members’ names will be collected on the competition day.
  • A soft copy name list must also be submitted within 3 working days after the competition through Google Forms. This soft copy name list will be used to issue the Certificates of Participation. Teachers are responsible for the accuracy of the names. Certificates of Participation will be posted out to the competition contact teachers within one month of the competition.

The Theme of the Puppet Performance

  • Student participants must devise a puppetry performance on the theme of recycling or upcycling.
  • Each performance must have a title, which will be in the following format:

‘Up-ett-re: The Importance of Upcycling: … (their own sub-heading)’


‘Puppet-re: The Importance of Recycling: … (their own sub-heading)’

  • The subject matter can be fictional or based on factual information:

e.g. ‘Up-ett-re: The Importance of Upcycling: How we Saved the Birds’

e.g. ‘Puppet-re: The Importance of Recycling: The Quest to Clear the Great Garbage Patch’

See link for ideas:

  • Schools must email the topic to the organisers one week before the competition (for the programme). Penalties apply.

Student Participants

  • Each school can usually enter one team. If numbers permit, a second team may be allowed.

  • A team consists of 4 – 5 puppeteers (performers) plus 1 – 2 student helpers.  The team can be made up of students from any year level or a combination of year levels.  The student helpers can be used to provide help with the backdrop, props and puppet making. All students involved should attend the performance and receive certificates if the team wins.


  • The performance must be between 5 – 7 minutes long.  A first bell will be rung once at 5 minutes and a second bell will be rung twice at 7 minutes. After the second bell has been rung, the performance must finish immediately. If the performance ceases immediately when the bell is rung at 7 minutes, no marks will be deducted. If the performance is shorter than 5 minutes or longer than 7 minutes, marks will be deducted.
  • Written scripts are allowed during the performance.
  • A standalone backstage narrator is not allowed as part of the performance. The puppets must tell the story through their lines with minimal use of a narrator. A few seconds of narration only by a puppet character may be useful. Extended use of a narrator will be penalised by judges. Training will be given on this at the puppetry training workshop in February 2019.
  • The performers should preferably wear black tops and dark bottoms.
  • Simple props may be used.    
  • Non-copyright music and sound effects are allowed. Teams must provide their own means to play the music/sound effects.
  • One or more backdrops must be used.
  • A puppetry tent will be provided for all the performances.
  • Teams must arrive at least 10 minutes before the competition starts. Start and end times will be confirmed later.
  • No communication is allowed between teachers and their students during the performance. 
  • The audience (teachers and students) must be respectful to the performers throughout.  At the discretion of the organisers, marks may be deducted if any team members in the audience cause a disturbance. Mobile phones must be switched off or set to silent mode.


  • Teams may use commercial or student-made puppets. However, to be eligible for the puppet design prize, teams must use handmade, recycled or upcycled puppets. 
  • Students must sign a pledge form. This indicates that the puppets are their own work with the teacher in a solely supervisory capacity and the puppets could be classified as recycled or upcycled.  (‘Recycled’ would not include commercial puppets used before and used again!)
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