Declamation or Oratorical Declamation is an event that is strictly limited to students in 9th, 10th grade, or Novice competitors. Novice competitors who are in 11th or 12th grade are ineligible to compete in Declamation at Grand Finals.
Declamation is essentially the interpretation of a speech that has been previously delivered in public. For example, a student might chose to deliver a speech given by Winston Churchill. They would then take the speech and cut it to meet the time limits, go through the speech to analyze and interpret the language of the piece, memorize the speech, and then perform it in a compelling manner that is faithful to the original intent. This is NOT an impersonation of the original speaker; it is an interpretation of the text itself.
The speaker must provide an introduction for the piece that names the work, author, and works to provide necessary background while setting the mood. Also, body language, facials, and movement (walking) are vital. All movements during the speech need to be motivated by the words of the text (high emotion “forcing” you to move, for instance) and sparse—movements as transitions is an easy way of looking at it. Facials and gestures should be used to help convey meaning and impact, and they should never distract from the piece.
Declamation is great training ground for other speech and interpretation events. It hones the skills of performance.