72 high school students from across Massachusetts to compete in state semi-finals of spoken word competition this weekend.


Boston, MA — Seventy-two students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will compete at four regional semi-final competitions as part of the seventh annual Poetry Out Loud March 3 and 4. Competitions will occur in Boston, Framingham, Springfield, and Cape Cod. Each participating student recently won his or her individual school's competition. This weekend's winners will advance to the State Finals on Sunday, March 11. All upcoming competitions are free and open to the public.

  • Boston: Satuday, March 3, 9:30am
    Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
    527 Tremont Street, Boston

  • Framingham: Saturday, March 3, 9:30am
    Framingham Temple Association
    404 Concord Street Framingham

  • Springfield: Sunday, March 4, 10am
    Community Music School of Springfield
    127 State Street, Springfield

  • Cape Cod: Sunday, March 4, 1pm
    Cultural Center of Cape Cod
    307 Old Main Street, South Yarmouth

  • Sunday, March 11, 9:30am
    Old South Meeting House
    310 Washington Street, Boston

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation competition that celebrates the power of the spoken word and a mastery of public speaking skills while cultivating self-confidence and an appreciation of students' literary heritage as they take poetry from the page to the stage. Since its inception seven years ago, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.

A record 20,000 students from 81 Huntington-supported high schools across the Commonwealth competed in recent months in classroom and school-wide competitions. A complete list can be found at the end of this release.

The Massachusetts POL winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC this coming spring to compete in the national finals. The Huntington facilitates the Massachusetts competition with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Judges and prompters include Huntington Playwriting Fellows Miranda Craigwell, Afaa Michel Weaver (poet), January O'Neil (Executive Director, Mass Poetry Festival), Jamele Adams (poet), and Regie Gibson (poet), Judith Partelow (poet), Greg Hischak (poet), John Bonanni (poet), Daniel Thomas Moran (poet); Huntington Trustees J. David Wimberly and Ann-Ellen Hornidge; and Huntington Overseers Noel McCoy, Michael Brown, and Eleanor "Bobo" Devens. Entertainment will be provided by Faith Pyne (musician), January O'Neil (poet), Jamele Adams (poet), Regie Gibson (poet), and by the "Mutual Muses" exhibit of poetry and paintings.

"Poetry Out Loud creates an incredibly powerful sense of community in our school," says Burlington High School English teacher Benjamin Lalley. "For weeks after the competition, I still hear students telling each other, 'You did a great job. You really knocked that one out.' From performers to student athletes to ESL students, everyone gets engaged in our school-wide celebration of poetry."

"The Huntington is proud to lead Massachusetts' support of Poetry Out Loud," says Huntington Theatre Company Artistic Director Peter DuBois. "Its growth over the years speaks to its success. Poetry Out Loud provides a forum for the next generation of orators and creative voices to be heard."


Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre into the English class. The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with state arts agencies to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Huntington sponsor the Massachusetts contest; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation sponsor the competition on the national level. Learn more about Poetry Out Loud at


Over the past 30 years the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading professional theatre. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington brings together world—class theatre artists from Boston and Broadway and the most promising new talent to create an eclectic season of exciting new works and classics made current. By also mentoring playwrights in the Huntington Playwriting Fellows program, educating young people in theatre through its nationally renowned programs in education, and providing Boston—based companies with discounted audience services and first—class facilities at the Huntington—built and operated Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. The Huntington has transferred over a dozen productions to New York, including two last fall: the Broadway premiere of Lydia R. Diamond's Stick Fly and the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet. A national leader in the development of new plays, the Huntington has produced 83 New England, American, or world premieres to date, with three world premieres scheduled for the 2011 — 2012 Season, and its education and community programs serve 25,000 young people and underserved audiences each year. The Huntington performs in two homes — the BU Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in the South End. The Huntington was founded in 1982 by Boston University and separately incorporated as an independent non—profit in 1986. Its two prior artistic leaders were Peter Altman (1982 — 2000) and Nicholas Martin (2000 — 2008). For more information, visit

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