The 2019 Remote theatre competition

Remote theatre competition 2019/20

A play writing and play performing competition open to young people living in Palestine, launched, administered, and judged by the Hands Up Project, a UK based educational charity (Charity number 1170272)


-to provide a motivating context for young people in Palestine to practise and develop their spoken and written English.

-to provide young people in Palestine with an international audience for their creative work.

-to raise awareness around the world about the creative work of young people in Palestine.


-The play must be a maximum of 5 minutes duration. (It can be less than 5 minutes.)

-It must be performed by a maximum of 5 actors (it could be fewer than 5 and each actor may play several parts)

-All participants must be aged 15 or under and attend an UNRWA or Ministry of Education school in Palestine.

-Participants need to submit the following components in order to compete in the competition. All the components must be submitted using our own online form, which will be available at the end of November.

-a video recording of the young people acting in the play. We strongly recommend that this recording is made through the videoconferencing tool zoom so that the play naturally complies with the conditions of remote theatre (see below). The required file format is .mp4

-the script of your play, as a word document

-the subtitles of your play in .sbv format (a video explaining how to do this is available here)

-A written introduction to the play (maximum 200 words) explaining what inspired it and how the children made it?


-The play must be performed as a piece of Remote Theatre. It can be filmed on any digital device, but we highly recommend using Zoom. The recording device must not be moved at all throughout the whole play. The camera angle must not change and no zooming or effects are allowed. It must be filmed in one take with no stops or pauses using the camera controls. If music, narration or any other sound effects are used they should be played during the performance and not added later. No editing of the video whatsoever may take place. It is essential to achieve the highest quality audio possible and so the use of external microphones is permitted and encouraged.

-The main language of the play must be English.

-It must be an original piece of writing. We want this to be a learning experience as much as possible so teachers can of course help the children improve their scripts. However, the starting point for the plays must come from the children. Participants may choose to use an existing, well known story but the lines of the play must be their own words.

-The video and the script must be submitted using our online form by midnight on Friday the 17th January 2020.

-Anything reaching us after this date, or which does not fulfil the other requirements will not be accepted.

Suggestions for plays

Providing the requirements are fulfilled, the topic of the play is very flexible. Plays could be performed with or without narration. Some suggested topics could include:-

  • An adaptation of a traditional story
  • An adaptation of a modern story
  • A story about life in Palestine
  • A story created entirely by the participants
  • A play about an event in history, or a famous person

Suggestions for performance

Since the play will be performed through video, rather than face to face, it’s important to ensure that the actors are as close to the camera as possible and that they make eye contact with it as much as possible. It is really important that the audience can understand what is being said so it’s important to speak clearly. Incorporating gesture and physicality wherever possible will also make things clearer for the audience. It is fine to include, masks, puppets, music or singing in the play but none of these things are a requirement. If a green screen is available it may be used for backgrounds and scene changes. (This is an inbuilt feature of zoom).


The best entries will be published in a Hands up project book and our youtube channel. All finalists will be awarded with trophies at an awards ceremony and invited to perform at theatres in the West Bank.

Judging criteria

The judging process will be confirmed after the submission deadline once the number and range of submissions has been established. The panel of judges will pick the best play based on quality of acting performances, quality of the play, creative expression and clarity of expression. Though English should be used, the plays will not be judged on the level of English of the participants. So it will be possible for learners of English at a low level to also take part. Even if the level of English is low it is very important that the delivery is clear.

We very much look forward to seeing your entries. Good luck!

Nick Bilbrough, on behalf of The Hands Up Project board of trustees

To fill in the online form, please

To download the SBV subtitle template please click here.


A form in Arabic giving parental permission for the participating children’s plays to be shown on youtube can be downloaded here.

Hands_up_data_protection_form_Arabic_blank (2)


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