Shakespeare Competition

Shakespeare Competition
Sponsored by the Theater and English Departments Of the 
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
& Queens University
February 6th,  9:00am to 1:00pm

 Competition Format and Registration Rules 

Each school’s first-place winner will perform in a final round in the middle or high school division, competing against the other first-place winners. Then, each school’s finalist will participate in a professional acting workshop before the award ceremony.

We ask that each school support its representative’s participation in the acting workshop and competition by paying a registration fee of $20. Schools sending both a middle school division contestant and a high school division contestant need to submit a separate registration form and fee for each finalist.

The online registration form will be available by early January. Please register your student representative for Queen's competition by January 31, 2020. High school teachers, you also need to register your school and your first-place student through ESU's website.  Please contact Monica Alston (mfalston@uncc.edu) at if you have any trouble with the forms.

Participant Information

This year, a participating school should hold a competition and send its first-place winner to our branch’s final round competition. We welcome high school students (grades 9-12) and middle school students (grades 6-8) from Mecklenburg and surrounding counties to take the stage at Queen's University.

Teachers, students, and parents should visit the ESU website for information about the rules regarding the in-school competitions

Queens University will continue to hold a middle school division final round in addition to the high school division final round. Homeschool students should consult the English-Speaking Union’s guidelines for holding a qualifying competition. Schools that have middle school and high school students may send a middle school representative and a high school representative.

Performance and Attendance 

Teachers, parents and other students are welcome to attend and support your student representative during the final round of the competition. Participation in the acting workshop is limited to contestants only but can be observed by others.

Eligibility and Guidelines

English-Speaking Union of the United States (ESU)
 Guidelines include:

  • Students and teachers should consult ESU's website for monologue and sonnet guidelines, as the ESU has listed approved monologues and sonnets that must be used in the competition. See the links for Monologue and Sonnet Packets on the following webpage: http://www.esuus.org/esu/programs/shakespeare_competition/[Link]

  • Each school’s student representative will perform a Shakespearean monologue and a sonnet. Students should introduce both the dramatic selection and the sonnet.

  • Students may look at their notes, but the best performers maintain constant eye contact with the audience while delivering their introductions. The best performers memorize their monologues and sonnets.

  • Students are not allowed the use of costumes, props or furniture because they detract from the brief recitations.

  • Students should avoid using an artificial British accent, which often seems unnatural.

  • Students can choose any role, regardless of their gender; females can choose male roles and vice versa as long as students follow the ESU guidelines.

Requirements for Sonnets and Monologues 

Students and teachers should consult ESU's website for monologue and sonnet guidelines, as the ESU has listed approved monologues and sonnets that must be used in the competition. See the the links for Monologue and Sonnet Packets on the following webpage: http://www.esuus.org/esu/programs/shakespeare_competition/

Acknowledgements and Awards 

This project is supported by the Charlotte branch of the English-Speaking Union. Top competitors at both the high school and middle school levels receive awards, and each school’s student finalist will receive a certificate of participation. The first-place high school winner of our competition will represent the Charlotte branch of the English-Speaking Union in New York City at the ESU national competition.  

For further information, Contact:  Monica Burke,
                                              Tel.: 704-687-0013

REGISTER HERE