The Huntington presents the August Wilson Monologue Competition Boston Regional Finals on Jan. 29

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The Huntington presents the August Wilson Monologue Competition Boston Regional Finals on Jan. 29

HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY, LONGTIME ARTISTIC HOME OF PLAYWRIGHT AUGUST WILSON, HOLDS EIGHTH ANNUAL REGIONAL FINALS OF “AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION” ON JANUARY 29

WHEN: Monday, January 29 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
WHERE: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston
TICKETS: Free and open to the public. RSVP

(BOSTON, MA) – Huntington Theatre Company’s Department of Education presents the 8th annual Boston regional finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition, celebrating the writing of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright. Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company (Atlanta, GA) inaugurated the competition in 2009, and this year marks the 8th year that the Huntington’s education department has hosted the competition in Boston.

Over 640 high school students from 19 Boston area public schools have participated in the program this school year, and 17 schools will send their school winner to the Boston Regional Finals. This marks the highest number of schools and students participating in the program since its inception. The winner of each school competition will compete on Monday, January 29 at the Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The competition is free and open to the public.

The Huntington’s Education Department staff and teaching artists have been visiting 10 schools in the August Wilson Monologue Competition residency program weekly since October. During their school visits they introduce participating students to August Wilson and the 10 plays of his American Century Cycle centering on the 20th century African American experience. The residency curriculum includes work on text analysis and characterization and one-on-one coaching with students in their performances in preparation for the competition. Teachers are also provided biographical materials on August Wilson and his history with the Huntington Theatre Company.

Due to popular demand from area high schools, the Huntington’s Education Department expanded the August Wilson Monologue Competition program beyond the residency schools in 2015 and participation is open to any interested high school in the Boston or Greater Boston area. These schools are provided with all materials necessary to educate students on the life and work of August Wilson and the schools coach students for in-school competitions and the Boston Regional Finals. This year nine schools registered to participate in the program.

In competitions at the school level and at the Boston finals, students perform a two to three-minute monologue of their choosing from one of Wilson’s ten plays. A panel of judges assess contestants on memorization accuracy, understanding of the text, emotional connection to the material, and commitment to the performance. 

The top two winners from Boston will be awarded an all-expense-paid trip to New York City where they will perform their monologues at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre in the National Competition on May 8, 2018. Airfare, hotel accommodations, workshops, and tickets to attend a Broadway production will be provided in collaboration with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theatres. The national competition is also free and open to the public.

“The August Wilson Monologue Competition provides students with a deeply meaningful arts-based learning experience,” says Interim Co-Director of Education Alexandra Smith. “As an experiential art form, work in theatre allows students to develop both academic and performance skills by imagining themselves in the world of the play, analyzing characters’ motivations and actions, and developing empathy. Many of our students feel a personal connection to the Century Cycle because they see their own communities reflected in the plays and all students have the opportunity to explore important perspectives and stories that are often omitted from our country’s dominant historical narrative. We are proud to be the Boston home of the August Wilson Monologue Competition for eight years and counting!”

The following schools have participated in the 2018 August Wilson Monologue Competition: Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School, Another Course to College, Brighton High School, Boston Day and Evening Academy, Boston Arts Academy, Boston Collegiate Charter School, Codman Academy Charter Public School, Community Academy of Science and Health, Dana Hall School, Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, English High School, Fenway High School, Henderson K12 Full Inclusion School, John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, Margarita Muniz Academy, McKinley South End Academy, Snowden International School at Copley, Urban Science Academy, and West Roxbury Academy.

Judges at the Boston competition will be local director Benny Sato Ambush, local actor Brandon G. Green, and Huntington Playwriting Fellow Kirsten Greenidge. The accuracy judge is Meagan Garcia, company manager at the Huntington, and the prompter is Noel McCoy, education committee member at the Huntington.

August Wilson’s Century Cycle is a singular achievement in American theatre. Each of the 10 plays is set in a different decade of the 20th century. The Huntington had a special relationship with August Wilson and his work, beginning in 1986 with a production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, his third play in the American Century Cycle. For 25 years, the Huntington served as an artistic home to Wilson, developing and premiering eight of the ten plays of his American Century Cycle before they went on to Broadway. The Huntington completed Wilson’s Century Cycle in 2012 with Wilson’s first Broadway hit, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In 2016, the Huntington produced August Wilson’s memoir and final play How I Learned What I Learned, directed by August Wilson’s longtime collaborator Todd Kreidler.

The competition was created by Kenny Leon (director of Stick Fly, Gem of the Ocean, and Fences at the Huntington and on Broadway and The Wiz Live! and Hairspray Live! on NBC) and Todd Kreidler (adapter of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at the Huntington), two of August Wilson’s closest collaborators. Leon worked closely with Wilson and directed many of the American Century Cycle plays on Broadway and at major regional theatres, including the Huntington. True Colors Associate Artistic Director Kreidler served as dramaturg for Wilson’s Radio Golf.

“The competition offers students an interactive way to learn about Wilson’s work and how his plays connect with each decade in the 20th century,” says Kreidler. “Students learn about history, social studies, and literature through performing monologues from Wilson’s plays and studying his American Century Cycle.”

Major funding for the Boston regional August Wilson Monologue Competition is provided by the Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Fund at EdVestors The Boston Foundation, Kingsbury Road Charitable Trust, The Lucy R. Sprague Memorial Fund, The Ramsey McCluskey Family Foundation, The Roy A. Hunt Foundation, The William and Bertha E. Schrafft Charitable Trust, and Tiny Tiger Foundation. Funding for the National competition is provided by Delta Air Lines and Aetna.

For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org/awmc and truecolorstheatre.org/august-wilson-monologue-competition.

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ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
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 the Huntington Avenue 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 huntingtontheatre.org.

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