Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest

From 75 contestants the first year to over 1,200 participants this past season, the Shakespeare contest has become a much anticipated annual event.

This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to experience the excitement of live performance while learning the works of William Shakespeare. The contest is open to students in grades 4-12. Students may enter the monologue, scene or both portions of the contest in either the upper division (grades 8-12) or the lower division (grades 4-7).

Coaching sessions are conducted in January and February in the schools and at the O'Reilly Theater. Contestants present their pieces on the Public's main stage in front of a panel of judges, and those who advance to the final round of the contest have the opportunity to perform at the Showcase of Finalists.

All participants receive a contest t-shirt and a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a Public Theater production. The Public also offers free orientation sessions for first-time participating teachers and their students. 


2014-2015 Contest Schedule

 ONLINE REGISTRATION begins October 27, 2014

TEACHERS must submit registration forms through the following link:

STUDENTS must submit registration forms through the following link:

COACHING January 5- February 3, 2015

PRELIMINARY ROUND February 5-13, 2015




  • Monologues should be 25-60 lines long.
  • Scenes should not exceed 5 minutes. (Please adhere to this frequently overlooked guideline!)
  • Monologues and scenes must be memorized.
  • Prompting of any kind is not permitted.
  • All scene performers must be active participants.
  • Costumes and props are to be kept to a minimum, and set pieces are discouraged.
Judging Criteria for Scenes and Monologues
  • Understanding of the text
  • Emotional connectedness
  • Character development
  • Physical and vocal performance
  • Pacing and the interaction amongst the actors in a scene
Suggested Monologues and Scenes

Over the years of conducting the Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest, we have assembled a list of suggested scenes and monologues that work well with student performers: some of them well-known, some less so.  We recommend that you take a close look at this list when choosing a scene or monologue to present for the contest.

The list of course is not exhaustive.  You may also choose a scene or monologue that is not listed here.   In your search, look closely for selections that fit our length and time requirements.  A good scene or monologue has a clear beginning, middle and end.  It’s obviously part of the overall play, but it’s important that it can stand on its own as a performance piece.  In addition, think about a monologue as a speech that a character delivers to a silent or absent listener.  This character may want to share her feelings at that moment, or to explain what he thinks about what has happened so far in the action.

Do you have a great idea for a Shakespearean scene or monologue that should be added to our list?  Let us know!


Congratulations to the winners of the 2013-2014 Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest: 

Lower Division Scene: (L - R) Alice Crow (CAPA), Elliot Pullen (home schooled), Edgar O'Connell & Julia Coblin (CAPA) for The Tempest.

Lower Division Monlogue: Shay Freund (Gideon Study Center), Flute as Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream (With Ted Pappas, left)

Upper Division Scene: Burke Rhodes (Mt. Lebanon High School) and Logan Shiller (CAPA) for Two Gentlemen of Verona (with Rob Zellers, right)


Upper Division Monologue (tie): Catherine Baird (North Allegheny High School), Trinculo in The Tempest.


Upper Division Monologue (tie): Donnie Grimm (Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter), Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.


The Finalists of 2013-2014:

Upper Division Monologues
Sarah Mickey
Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing
Mt. Lebanon High School

LaTaya Davis
Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
Woodland Hills Senior High School

Marin Exler
Adriana in The Comedy of Errors
Carlynton High School

Catherine Baird
Trinculo in The Tempest
North Allegheny High School

Sundiati Rice
Othello in Othello
Colfax Upper Elementary

Donnie Grimm
Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing
Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School

Noah Hitchcock
Philip in King John
Salt and Light (home school)

Upper Division Scenes
Beatrice Duffus & Juliann Sorek
The Merry Wives of Windsor
East Catholic

Lincoln Alkind & Sarah Coufal
As You Like It
Colfax Upper Elementary

Catherine Burne, Nicolas Navari, Tyler Fort, Lara Salibi
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Aquinas Academy

Justin Bees & Zoey Myers
Much Ado About Nothing

Logan Shiller (Mt. Lebanon High School) & Burke Rhodes (CAPA)
Two Gentlemen of Verona

Will Huffmyer & Luke Belanger
Two Gentlemen of Verona
North Hills School District

Laela Lumsden, Jade Langan, Mimi Thomas, Candace Burgess
Hope Academy

Lower Division Monologues
Rebekah Hitchcock
Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
Salt and Light (home school)

Shay Freund
Flute as Thisbe in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Gideon Study Center

Madeline Douglas
Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
Woodland Hills Academy

Emma Steckline
Phoebe in As You Like It
Environmental Charter

Charlotte Bush
Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona
Hope Academy

Lower Division Scenes
Edgar O’Connell, Alice Crow, Julia Coblin, Elliot Pullen
The Tempest

Maxwell Turnwald & Katie McCurrie
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Boyce Middle School

Teresa Davison & Adelle Fernando
Romeo and Juliet
Ingomar Middle School

Abby Adelman & Skylar Davidson
Twelfth Night
Marshall Middle School

Keith Merritt & Madalyn Agate
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Trinity Christian

Sophia Henry, Maya Nelson, Gabby Lisanti, Julia Bukowski
The Comedy of Errors
Aquinas Academy

Lela Krackow & Nora Rodes
As You Like It
Lyceum of Pittsburgh

The Honorable Mentions of 2013-2014:


Max Begler

Abigail Biernesser
Jackie Bissell
Tolik Borisov
Joshua Brelsford
Candace Burgess
Emma Clougherty
Emma Cumberledge
Kelly Dasta
Carly Decock
Devin Dekic
Mikhail Ferree
Sam Gardner
Vandana George
Olivia Gill
Josh Hanley
Peter Heres
Jonah Hitchcock
Lance Joos
Sam Kagle
Jessica Keast
Joe Kelly
Ben Kennedy
Bridget Kent
Rebecca Kern
Mya Lomax
Mercedes Manda
Samantha Mcgrath
Danny O'Brian
Heather Rourke
Shelby Solla
Ethan Stahl
Micah Stanek
Jeri Stoller
Hayleigh Sutak
Matt Tapparo
Natalie Thomas
Christine Thomkins
Chesna Tomko
Emily Tyler
Michaela Valenta
Maura Vulakovich
Amber Wesoloski
Macy West


Katerina Bailey
Olivia Forton
Staci Sharik
Rachel Sullivan
Mason Blackburn
Tess Majewski
Cassidy Southern
Riley Smith
Angelica Tozzi
Charlotte Bush
Morgan McCoy
Mia Rosenfeld
Rae Burton
AJ Daley
Dylan Jenny
Dava Kovacic
Callahan Sollie
Bean Hayward
Nick Kaira
Jack Worsham
Claire Biertempfel
Michael Bryne
Bella Enfield
Owen Fink
Chelsea Calfo
AJ Molder
Sarah Kuchma
Kersten Lubbert
Alexandra Burke
Anthony Hood
Dino Mantinaos
Madelyn Smith
Nate Angus
Lucas Snyder
Trevor Buda
Thomas Cadle
Zachary Ford
Abby Kraus
Julia Parks
Armand Ignelzi
Peter Landau
John McKeating
Richard Meland
Jacob Scioscia



 Additional Resources

For more information on Shakespeare or for a complete text of his plays, check out these links:

Folger Shakespeare Library
The Plays of William Shakespeare Vocabulary Glossary
Guide to Online Schools Shakespeare Library

Open Source Shakespeare
Shakespeare's Monologues
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The Royal Shakespeare Company
Shakespeare at

What People are Saying about the Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest 

"Students sometimes view Shakespeare as remarkably dull and inaccessible.  But Shakespeare Competition participants know better.  They search out the perfect scene:  the drunken sandbag dual, the washed ashore coffin containing an undead beauty, bad actors putting on a play to impress royalty.  Then they bring that scene to life, filling the characters with quirks and peccadilloes, defining action (swordfights, swoons, stumbles, the arched eyebrow, the pregnant pause), then action with words, well-enunciated words that can actually be heard by the judges.  It's creative.  It requires teamwork.  It's a whole lot of fun, and not for the faint of heart." - Peg Boyd, Parent


"The staff's commitment to introducing Shakespeare to a younger generation is enormously inspiring.  The individual attention paid to each and every performance [during the contest] is remarkable.  Kids develop an appreciation for classical theater, and they enjoy it.  I've gained wonderful memories, friendships, and performance opportunities that I will never forget." - Lara Hillier, Shakespeare Contest Participant and Four-Time Winner

"The Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest has been, without doubt, the highlight of my entire theater experience in junior high and high school.  I have learned more about the performing arts from my participation in the program than from any other source.  Pittsburgh Public Theater dedicates a lot of time and effort to the education of young people."  - Simon Brown, Shakespeare Contest Participant and Winner

"To be able to get up and perform on the amazing O'Reilly stage is a cool thing all by itself.  But then you add Shakespeare to that! Although the language is old, Shakespeare could never get old--not when the stories are still relevant and there are kids like me participating in the Shakespeare competition.  This competition is a wonderful opportunity for students to truly try something new." - Meggie Booth, Shakespeare Contest Participant

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Pittsburgh Public Theater Education programs are underwritten by BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, The Grable Foundation, and EITC funders. Media Sponsors: WESA & WYEP.




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