Cosplay Contest: Performance

The Performance Competition is a chance for cosplayers to perform skits or dance routines on stage for the audience and compete for awards.

Cosplayers may compete in both craftsmanship (have their costumes judged) and performance for the Best in Show award.

Limited Spots

Performance Entires are limited to 8 acts. After the first 8 submissions are taken, we will accept future entires on a waitlist basis and contact those entries first on the waitlist if there is a drop-out or a no-show during the rehersal.

Craftsmanship Judging

Performance and Craftsmanship If you are entering both performance and craftsmanship (For Best in Show eligability, or to win an award in one or the other– not both), please fill out the form at the bottom of the page. You do not need to fill out the walk-on form. You will be given the chance to choose a craftsmanship judging time when the schedule is online (about 1 month prior to the convention). We will email you a link to choose one at that time.

Sign up at the BOTTOM of the page!

Performance Rules:

  1. Time Limits:
    Performances must be between 1 minute and 4 minutes. Leeway is given for the time it takes to get on stage and off stage. Please truncate your final music and audio to within this timeframe. Going over-time by 5 minutes may disqualify you from any awards.
  2. Keep it Clean:
    Content must be all-ages friendly. No drug references, No f-bombs, major curse words, or content that is overtly sexual or adult in nature.
  3. Keep it Kind:
    Racial slurs, homophobic slurs, or otherwise provocative imagry, lyrics, costumes or language are not permitted and will not be accepted.
  4. No Surprises:
    Going wildly off-script from what was approved may result in serious repercussions depending on the content.

    Stand-up comedy routines, choosing random audience members, or completely off-script is generally not permitted and must be approved by the Cosplay Coordinator. This type of material is generally best reserved for panels due to time and technical constraints.

  5. Leave no mess behind:
    No explosives or messy substances such as (but not limited to) silly string, confetti or glitter. What goes on stage with you must leave when you exit.
  6. Be Safe:
    No rough-housing or horseplay on stage! There is expensive equipment and fall hazards are imminent. All stage fighting must be taken at a slower pace and pre-approved. There should be no more than 6 people on-stage at any given time to ensure safety.

Regarding Costumes:

If you are competing only in the performance category (not craftsmanship), you do not need to make your costume yourself. Store-bought, commissioned, or closet cosplay costumes are welcome to enter for performance. Plain-clothes or alternative fashion are fine, so long as your performance is relevant to Pop-culture media (cosplay, anime, games, comics, cartoons, film) or relevant in some way to the convention scene.

Signing up

Online Submissions:

When you submit your entry online, you must have the following:

  1. An introduction for the Emcee (500 characters or less)
  2. A full and detailed description of what you will be doing on-stage. -OR- A complete script.
  3. Have your audio ready to submit.

Entering At-Con

If all performance slots are full, we will offer sign-ups at the convention on a waitlist-basis only.

If you sign up at-con for a perforamnce entry, you must have the following at the time you sign up:

  1. An introduction for the Emcee (500 words or less)
  2. A complete script if you are acting on stage, or a detailed description of what you will be doing if you are doing a dance routine or another type of performance.
  3. You must bring your completed audio file with you or email it to us when you sign up.

Audio and Visual

We can do a lot of cool stuff for your performance. Feel free to get creative! However, please keep it simple. If you have too many things going on, we cannot guarantee perfection or your performance being free of human error.

Submitting your audio:

Submitting via google drive, dropbox or another cloud service: (recommended) A link is provided in the sign-up sheet to do so. Please link your file there.

Submitting via Youtube: You may send a youtube link of the music you are using. Please note that the conversion from a youtube video to audio file may result in quality loss of your audio.

Email: You may also email your audio to us (

Using Video:

You can have video that plays during your performance! We recommend using this as an addition to your performance, rather than a distraction. Videos can make a good introduction, but can take attention away from your performance on stage. If you choose to use a video, please leave any areas where you will be performing live as a black screen. We will swap the video feed from our camera feed, and back if needed (please keep it simple!)

Please submit your video in AVI or MP4 format.

Lighting Requests

Simple lighting requests are welcome. We may or may not be able to dim the lights in the room, but we will be able to use colors and some flashy lighting effects for you. Again, keep this simple. An example may be using red lights at 1:20 and then blue at 2:30 until the end. Another example may be colorful and fun lights in tempo with the music when it speeds up at :30. If you are requesting a lot of lighting changes and transitions, human error and the tech equipment demon may rear his ugly head. We have met him, and we don’t want to awaken him again!

Mandatory Performance Rehersal

All performance entries must attend a mandatory Masquerade Rehearsal that takes place in the AM on Saturday. This rehearsal is for performance entries only. The exact time of this will be updated once the schedule is posted.

You do not need to come to the rehersal in costume. Please just come with you, your group members, or any relevant props you need for your performance. If only one person can show up, this is okay too. We just need to make sure that your tech needs are met and you get a feel for the stage.

Cosplay staff will provide your submitted audio to the tech staff during the rehearsal. Please ensure that any changes have been approved and turned in prior to this time.

Skill Divisions:

Youth Division:

The cosplayer(s) / performer(s)  are aged 13 or younger.

All youth entries will receive recognition.
Groups with mixed ages may choose to remain as youth or choose another division that best suits the group’s overall experience.

Novice Division:

To qualify for Novice Division:

  • No major craftsmanship or performance awards.
  • No more than 3 minor craftsmanship or performance awards (ex: Judge’s choice, Honorable Mention)
  • No more than 3 years cosplaying or performing.

Journeyman Division:

To qualify for Journeyman Division:

  • You have one at least one award for the Journeyman or Intermediate division before.
  • At least 1 but no more than 5 major craftsmanship or performance in the Novice or Journeyman division (or similar categories).
  • No more than 5 minor craftsmanship or performance awards (ex: Judge’s choice, Honorable Mention)
  • There is no time/experience requirement for entering in the Journeyman division. Although it is typical to move into Journeyman after about two years of serious competition.

Master Division:

To qualify for Master Division:

  • You have won any best in show or Best Master or Advanced level award.
  • No more than 5 major craftsmanship or performance awards in the Journeyman division (or similar middle-experience category).
  • No more than 10 minor craftsmanship or performance awards (ex: Judge’s choice, Honorable Mention)
  • There is no time/experience requirement for entering in the Master division. Although it is typical to move into the Master Division after about three to five years of serious competition.

About Performance Judging:

All performances are judged during the Masquerade itself. You will not be judged during the Saturday morning rehearsal.

If you wish to be judged for both performance and craftsmanship, you must arrange a pre-judging session before or during the convention.

Judging Criteria:

Performances are judged in the following area for a total of 50 points

  1. Presentation (10 points) – How entertaining and interesting is the performance? Are the performers convincing and have purpose? How polished is the performance? 
  2. Interaction (10 points) – How well is the stage utilized? How do group performers interact with each other? If a dance routine, how well is the dance choreographed and rehearsed?
  3. Creativity (10 points) – How creative and inventive is the performance? 
  4. Technical (10 points) – Is the script, audio, or other technical aspects of the performance presented well? 
  5. Recpetion (10 points) – How did the judges and audience react to the performance?

Performance Awards

Best in Show (Craftsmanship and Performance)
Best Performance by Skill Division*
Overall Best Performance
Honorable Mentions*
Judge’s Choice*

*Final awards in the performance category are subject to change based on the amount of performance entries we receive. 

Tips to ensure a great performance:


  • It’s always best to pre-record your audio whenever possible. This helps to ensure that you do not forget your lines on stage. Also, the audience and judges will be able to hear you perfectly and you won’t go over-time.. It’s highly recommended to go this route. Although there are circumstances where you may not want to use pre-recorded audio, such as playing an instrument or singing live.
  • Make sure that the audio quality is clear, free of static or other interference. Make sure that spoken or sung lines can be clearly heard over any background music.
  • If you are singing or dancing to a song, make sure your audio is within the allotted time. You can edit your audio using a free program like Audacity.
  • If you are using a microphone, be sure to not speak directly into the the mic at close-range while speaking. Stay a few inches away from the mic and speak/sing a little over it rather than directly into it.


  • Stage dimensions are 16 feet long by 12 feet wide. (The long side faces the audience)
  • The center of the stage will be marked with some tape. Try to use that as your reference point.
  • Be aware of the stage limits at all times.
  • Make sure to rehearse your movements carefully during the rehearsal period as well as the weeks leading up to the convention.

Dance Routines & Acting:

  • Popular dance routines have been done many times. It might be best to figure out your own unique spin on that new favorite dance routine to ensure an original performance.
  • Complex dance routines and acting performances take a lot of time and practice, so be sure to meet and practice with your group members ahead of time.
  • Be Creative! Dance routines are very popular at Masquerades. On the other hand, sometimes a good acting / skit performance will stand out from the crowd. How could you combine both?