Shakespeare Monologue Competition
for Students Grades 6-9
March 12 , 2007
1:00 Arrive at Imagination Stage
1:15 Warm-Up for All Contestants
1:30 Monologue Competition
Stage, Bethesda, MD
(click here for
directions and parking information)
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for Coordinators | Guidelines
for Students | Suggested Monologues
Student Entrant Form |
Judges' Evaluation Form
Guidelines for Coordinators
The purpose of the Middle School Monologue
Competition is to encourage students to explore the plays of
Shakespeare from the perspective of the actor and to go beyond
the academic study of his texts. This competition will help them
to approach his works as works to be seen and experienced as
well as read. Students should approach the competition as an
opportunity to explore one of Shakespeare's characters psychologically,
physically and emotionally and then to make those elements clear
to the audience using the actor's tools. Participants also need
to recognize that what makes the works of Shakespeare an exciting
challenge is the text itself; the language can be quite dense,
full of words or ideas that seem unfamiliar. Students need to
find the means to activate the character by using the language,
the meter, and verse with energy, clarity, and specificity.
We hope that as you integrate competition-related
initiatives into your curriculum, you'll find ways to benefit
entire classes rather than confining your offerings solely to
after-school activities in which only a few students take part.
We've learned that festivities that culminate during a general
assembly ordinarily provide the most rewarding experience and
elicit the greatest amount of enthusiasm.
As you prepare for this year's competition,
you should be cognizant of the following guidelines.
- If more than one student is interested in
participating, a school must first hold its own competition.
The school competition should be judged, if possible, by at
least three qualified observers, to be drawn from teachers,
actors, directors, or others in the community who are knowledgeable
- Students must be in the 6th, 7th, 8th or
9th grades and must be permanent residents of the United States.
They cannot have received, or be scheduled to receive, payment
for a professional or semi-professional acting performance
during the school year in which the competition occurs.
- Each entrant in the competition is expected
to select, memorize, and present a Shakespearean monologue,
which must be 20 to 25 lines. Monologues usually take about
two minutes to perform.
- Students should speak as naturally as possible,
not with an affected or artificial voice, and they
should use their normal accent (that is, American
speech for most students, rather than, say, a British accent
that is not native to them).
- Entrants may wear clothes appropriate to
communicate their role, such as a rehearsal skirt. They may
use one prop if the passage they have selected dictates its
- A student's introduction to his or her monologue
should be limited to an announcement of the performer's name,
school, the play, and the character.
Sponsored by the Center for
Renaissance & Baroque Studies, Imagination
Stage, the English-Speaking
Union, and the Washington Episcopal School.
Become a sponsor