(BOSTON) – The Huntington Theatre Company’s Department of Education celebrates the 12th anniversary of the national Poetry Out Loud contest, having facilitated the competition in Massachusetts since its inception in 2006. This year, seventy-six high school students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will participate in four regional semi-final contests March 4 and March 5. Semi-final contests will be held in Boston, Framingham, Springfield, and on Cape Cod. All upcoming contests are free and open to the public.

With support from the Huntington Theatre Company’s Department of Education more than 23,000 students from 87 high schools across Massachusetts participated in Poetry Out Loud, including classroom and school-wide contests. A complete list of the schools that integrated Poetry Out Loud into their curriculum this year can be found at the end of this release.

Each of the students participating in the upcoming semi-final contests were recently named their school’s champion. Twenty-five of the semi-finalists will advance to the state final competition on Sunday, March 12 at 9:30am at Boston’s Old South Meeting House. 

The Huntington’s Education Department facilitates the Massachusetts state-wide contests with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The program is facilitated nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. 

Semi-Final Contest Information:
Boston: Saturday, March 4, 9:30am
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont Street, Boston 02116

Framingham: Saturday, March 4, 10am
Framingham Temple Association
404 Concord Street, Framingham 01702 

Springfield: Sunday, March 5, 10am
Community Music School of Springfield
127 State Street, Springfield 01103

Cape Cod: Sunday, March 5, 1pm
Cultural Center of Cape Cod
307 Old Main Street, South Yarmouth 02664

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest 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. Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.

The Massachusetts Poetry Out Loud winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC April from 24-26 to compete in the national finals. 

Semi-Final judges include: Michael Ansara (Founder of MassPoetry), Cookie Gamble (YMCA of Greater Boston Youth Director), John Bonnani (Editor of Cape Cod Review), and Massachusetts poets Heather Hughes, Deirdre Callanan, and Jarita Davis.

About Poetry Out Loud:

Recitation and performance are major 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

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About the Huntington Theatre Company:
Celebrating its 35th season, the Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert our current theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council:
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The MCC is committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.

2017 Participating High Schools:
Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School, Hyde Park
Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Acton
Agawam High School, Agawam
Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough
Amherst Regional High School, Amherst
Assabet Valley Collaborative High School, Marlborough
Avon Middle High School, Avon
Barnstable High School, Hyannis
Billerica Memorial High School, Billerica
Bishop Feehan High School, Attleboro
Boston College High School, Boston
Boston Latin School, Boston
British International School of Boston, Boston
Brookline High School, Boston
Burlington High School, Burlington
CATS Academy Boston, Braintree
Claremont Academy, Worcester
Codman Academy Charter Public School, Dorchester
Community Academy of Science and Health, Dorchester
Cotting School, Lexington
Dana Hall School, Wellesley
Dartmouth High School, Dartmouth
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, South Yarmouth
Dexter Southfield School, Brookline
Dracut High School, Dracut
Duxbury High School, Duxbury
East Boston High School, East Boston
Everett High School, Everett
Foxborough Regional High School, Foxboro
Framingham High School, Framingham
Franklin High School, Franklin
Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, Groton
Hanover High School, Hanover
Haverhill High School, Haverhill
Hingham High School, Hingham
Hull High School, Hull
International School of Boston, Cambridge
Ipswich High School, Ipswich
Leominster High School, Leominster
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Sudbury
Longmeadow High School, Longmeadow
Lunenburg High School, Lunenburg
Malden High School, Malden
Mansfield High School, Mansfield
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, Oak Bluffs
Masconomet Regional High School, Boxford
Match Charter Public School, Boston
Melrose High School, Melrose
Meridian Academy, Jamaica Plain
Methuen High School, Methuen
Milton Academy, Milton
Minnechaug Regional High School, Wilbraham
Montrose School, Medfield
Monument Mountain Regional High School, Great Barrington
Mt. Everett Regional High School, Sheffield
Nantucket High School, Nantucket
Needham High School, Needham
Newburyport High School, Newburyport
Norwell High School, Norwell
Old Rochester Regional High School, Mattapoisett
Oliver Ames High School, North Easton
Pelham Academy, Lexington
Pembroke High School, Pembroke
Pentucket Regional High School, West Newbury
Pittsfield High School, Pittsfield
Plymouth North High School, Plymouth
Plymouth South High School, Plymouth
Presentation of Mary Academy, Methuen
Ralph C. Mahar Regional High School, Orange
Randolph High School, Randolph
Revere High School, Revere
Rockland High School, Rockland
Salem Academy Charter School, Salem
Saugus High School, Saugus
Sharon High School, Sharon
Sizer School, Fitchburg
South Hadley High School, South Hadley
Springfield Central High School, Springfield
Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield
Sturgis Charter Public School East, Hyannis
Swampscott High School, Swampscott
Tabor Academy, Marion
Westfield High School, Westfield
Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, Whitman
Wilbraham and Monson Academy, Wilbraham
Willow Hill School, Sudbury
Quincy Catholic Academy, Quincy (Middle School, School-Level Participation only)

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