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Rights & Licensing

 

Choosing a performance piece for your Thespy entry?

Since adjudications involve performances of copyrighted works, you’ll need to select materials that the authors or their legal representatives have approved for use in the Thespy program. Any performance of a copyrighted work before an audience requires permission, even in an educational setting. In the instance of Thespy adjudication, the adjudicators, fellow Thespy participants, and anyone else present in the adjudication room constitutes an audience, and therefore, permission must be granted to perform the selections.

 

But don’t worry!

EdTA and participating licensing agencies have reached agreements that allow the usage of available titles at no monetary cost to the Thespy participant. EdTA has compiled this list of instructions for how to gain approval for the vast majority of published theatrical works. Please read this list carefully – not all materials from the organizations below are approved for use. Each licensing agency represents its authors slightly differently, and each has their own policies and procedures for approvals of performance rights for the titles they represent. When applicable, restricted or pre-approved materials are noted after each organization below.

 

What are the official Thespy approval procedures?

Only the methods outlined below constitute approval for publicly licensed plays and musicals to be used for Thespy adjudication. Obtaining the rights to produce a title at your school as part of its theatrical season does not automatically grant students from that school the right to use selections from the title in Thespy adjudication. Privately contacting the authors, composers, and/or lyricists directly and receiving personalized permission is not an approved method for obtaining performance rights in the Thespy program. If a play or musical is currently without licensing representation and its author or rights holder does not appear on the list below, it is not eligible for use in 2023-24 Thespy adjudications (e.g., Wicked, Hamilton, Shucked, etc.).

Here are the recommended steps to follow once you've identified your performance piece:

  1. Identify who holds the performance rights to the piece. (See "How do I learn who holds the rights to the piece I want to perform?," below.)
  2. Find the name of the company on the list of licensing agencies in the next section and read the instructions for that company. (In some instances, this will be your final step. If the instructions ask you to consult the Red Light/Green Light List, continue on to #3.)
  3. Consult the Red Light/Green Light List if instructed to do so. In some cases, not all titles from an agency will be approved, and those titles that are not approved will appear on the red light list. Conversely, sometimes the list of approved titles from an author/agency is short, so only certain titles will be approved while all others are not. These titles will appear on the green light list. The instructions following each company's name will point you to the list you should refer to for their titles.

 

How do I learn who holds the rights to the piece I want to perform?

When submitting a Thespy entry at a qualifying event or during the final round of adjudication at the International Thespian Festival (ITF), it is important to identify the correct licensing agency for your piece and ensure that you have approval to use the piece in competition. This will also prevent problems arising if you’re invited to perform your selection in a Thespy showcase at any level from regional to chapter to ITF. Most of the time, Googling the show’s title and “licensing” will point you in the right direction to get started.

 

How can an author or licensing agency become a part of the official Thespy program?

The application period for inclusion in the 2023-24 Thespy adjudication season is closed, and no further materials will be approved for use this year. New and returning authors and licensing agencies must fill out the Thespys Rights and Licensing Application form annually. The form for inclusion in the 2024-25 academic year can be accessed at the link below. The deadline to complete the application is May 15, 2024.

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Licensing Agencies & Thespy Performance Policies

 

Broadway Licensing Group (formerly Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Stage Rights) – Most works are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication except those noted in the 2023-24 Thespy Red Light List.

Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

Concord Theatricals (formerly R&H Theatricals; Samuel French, Inc.; Tams-Witmark; The Musical Company) – Most works in Concord's United States catalog that are available for amateur licensing (not professional) are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication except those noted in the 2023-24 Thespy Red Light List. Amateur/professional permissions are noted on each show’s landing page on Concord’s website. Please contact Concord directly at k12@concordtheatricals.com to determine if recording is allowed for virtual Thespy adjudication, which may require additional approvals. Note: The status of a title in the Concord UK catalog does not affect its eligibility for use in the Thespys. Titles must be eligible in the US catalog to be eligible for Thespy usage.

NEW! CPA Theatricals – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

Dramatic Publishing Co. – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

Eldridge Plays & Musicals – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

Heuer Publishing – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

D.M. Larson Plays – Only monologues from the plays found on the 2023-24 Thespy Green Light List are eligible for use in Solo Acting Thespy adjudication. No scenes may be performed from these plays in the Duet Acting or Group Acting categories, and no monologues or scenes from other D.M. Larson titles are eligible.

Music Theatre International – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

Original Works Publishing – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

NEW! Pioneer Drama Service – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

NEW! Playwrights Guild of Canada – Selections from the Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) on the 2023-24 Thespy Green Light List may be used for live, in-person adjudication and performance at a Thespys chapter or international event. Permission is automatically granted so long as each participant has purchased a digital or printed copy of the script through the proper channels (PGC can advise). As many scripts must be purchased as there are participants.

Public Domain – Any public domain play written prior to 1928 is eligible for use in Thespy adjudication. Public domain means that the public owns the work (not the author) because the term of the copyright has expired or the work was never covered by copyright in the first place (e.g., works by William Shakespeare or Sophocles).

NEW! Sing Out, Louise Productions – Selections from Allegiance may be used for Thespy adjudication.

Stage Partners – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

Theatrefolk – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

Uproar Theatrics – All works found on the company's website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication.

YouthPLAYS – All works found on website are eligible for use in Thespy adjudication (selections must be under 10 minutes; Thespy rules cap Solo Acting pieces at 3 minutes and Duet/Group Acting pieces at 5 minutes) so long as each participant has purchased a digital or printed copy of the script through YouthPLAYS.

 


2023-24 Thespys Red- & Green-Light Lists

This document features titles red-lighted by licensing agencies as indicated above (these titles are not eligible for use in Thespy adjudication). It also contains a tab for titles green-lit for approval as indicated above in cases where only a limited number of titles from an author or agency are eligible for use in the Thespys program. Please review this list carefully if instructed to do so above, as failure to comply with red-light titles will result in a disqualification.

VIEW THE LIST