Long Wharf Theatre (LWT), in collaboration with Yale Repertory Theatre, is hosting the New Haven Regional August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC). Schools throughout the New Haven area will compete to send two winners on an all-expense paid trip to the National Competition in NYC where they will perform on a Broadway stage, see a Broadway play and have a chance to win college scholarships.
The Regional Competition will be held at Long Wharf Theatre on March 9, 2018. The National Competition will take place in New York City on May 7, 2018 at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.
The National August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) is an arts education program for high schools students in grades 9-12. The AWMC is an eight week unit that introduces a new generation to the work of August Wilson, a playwright whose plays transcend time, race, and age. “We are eager to see how the work transforms young artists, expands their consciousness, and encourages us all to be better towards each other. We are currently working with students from ACES- Educational Center for the Arts, Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School, CES- Regional Center for The Arts, and Wilbur Cross High School and hope to grow this program each year to be a statewide initiative,” said Madelyn Newman, Long Wharf Theatre’s Director of Education.
Students will explore Wilson’s American Century Cycle with support from Long Wharf Theatre and Yale Rep teaching artists once a week. This series of ten plays, two of which received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, are each set in a different decade, depicting some of the most comprehensive and poetic narratives of the African-American experience in the 20th century in all of literature.
At the plays’ core are soaring, lyrical monologues that are modern, spoken word arias, taking on song, laughter, hope and pain. Wilson places these incredible speeches in the mouths of the most varied
ensemble of characters written since Shakespeare. Classrooms will study at least one of Wilson’s plays, and students will choose a monologue from one of the play’s characters. The goal of the competition is to inspire high school students to empower themselves and find their voices through theatre.
“When students explore Wilson’s monologues from the Century Cycle, they are challenged to discuss and embody the realities of race, gender, and class in America, both then and now. Students of all cultures and backgrounds enter into the world of these plays and are invited to explore their own hopes, dreams, and what might be getting in the way. Strong communities are formed with classmates, teachers, and teaching artists via a cycle of performance, feedback, and investigation into how to bring this prolific playwright’s words to life through voice and body work. It is an epic challenge and a true inspiration to watch students rise to the occasion,” Newman said.
This national program is produced in collaboration between Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre and Jujamcyn Theatre. The program is now in Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, Pittsburgh, Portland, Seattle, Dallas, and Greensboro. New Haven is thrilled to continue Wilson’s legacy and to honor his rich history in Connecticut. The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center helped establish Wilson as a major voice in American theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre is renowned for staging six world premieres of August’s work.
“Yale Repertory Theatre’s storied history with August Wilson spans many generations and we are thrilled to collaborate with Long Wharf Theatre and continue Wilson’s legacy by sharing the competition with the New Haven community. Students from Yale School of Drama have been given a wonderful opportunity to work with these high school students inside the classroom and observe the dynamic growth and talent they develop throughout the semester,” said Kelvin Dinkins, Jr., General Manager of Yale Repertory Theatre.
Sponsorship for the National August Wilson Monologue Competition is provided by Delta Air Lines and Aetna.
For more information visit longwharf.org/august-wilson-monologue-competition or call 203-772-8272.