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Shakespeare Competition

Empowering Participants and Cultivating Skill Development

Welcome to PSF’s Annual Shakespeare Competition

The PSF Shakespeare Competition empowers participants and cultivates skill development and artistry in language, Shakespeare, and the art and craft of acting.

This year’s virtual competition provides students the opportunity to receive feedback on their work by actors and teaching artists from New York and Philadelphia. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in virtual workshops and panel discussions with professional artists. All high school-aged students in public, private, or home school are eligible to participate.

$15,000 in scholarships will be awarded!

The 2021 PSF Shakespeare Competition will be held virtually on Saturday April 24, 2021. The event will include workshops, panel discussion with artists, performance showcase, and award ceremony. View “General Info” and “Guidelines” tab for more information on registration and video submission.

Please contact PSF Education Director, Anelise Diaz, with any questions:
610-282-9455 ext. 9

General Information:

Click Here to Download General Information Document

Questions? 610.282.WILL x9

Mission Statement

The PSF Shakespeare Competition empowers participants and cultivates skill development and artistry in language, Shakespeare, and the art and craft of acting.


Grounded in direct engagement with Shakespeare’s text, the Competition provides students the opportunity to submit their filmed performance and receive evaluation by working theatre professionals. Any high school-aged student of a public, private school, or home school is eligible to participate in the competition, registering through their school. The registration fee covers participation in the competition, virtual workshops, and a virtual panel discussions with professional artists. Panel topics may include: choosing your text, headshots, working in the theatre, and majoring in theatre.

Scholarships and Awards

Four or more partial DeSales University Performing & Fine Arts scholarships will be awarded to outstanding participants. These scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are renewable for each of the four years a student would attend the University. First, second and third place awards will also be given in both Mono and Duo/Trio. Finally, a first, second, and third place Team Award will be given. Adjudicators will nominate candidates to be featured in the Showcase that are of distinctive value for all students present to observe. Participation in the Showcase does not affect final competition placement but will aid in identifying scholarship recipients.

NOTE: High schools seniors who will have applied to, been accepted by, and received a financial aid package from DeSales University by the time of the Competition may be limited to a maximum possible additional DeSales University scholarship from the Competition of $1,000 per year.


The cost for the competition and virtual event is $15 per student participant. If you wish to bring non-competing students in your group to participate in the workshops, the cost is $10 per student.


Material must be from William Shakespeare’s plays. Schools may enter three Monologues and three Duo/Trio scenes. The same student may not be entered in both Monologues and Duo/Trio scenes. It is the responsibility of the school to select which students will film and submit their Monologue or Duo/Trio scene for the Competition. Schools may wish to hold their own preliminary screening to select participants.

Entry forms must be received no later than Friday, March 19, 2021. No changes of entries will be allowed after that date.


For more information on evaluation, please see our Guidelines for Students and Coaches.

Hosts and Sponsors

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival hosts this event with the support of DeSales University as a part of PSF’s Linny Fowler WillPower Education Programs, made possible by a generous gift from Marlene “Linny” Fowler.


Click Here to Download Guidelines Document

Click Here to Download Video Submission Guidelines


• All selections must be from the plays of William Shakespeare.

• Monologues must be 1.5 to 3 minutes.

• Duo/Trio Scenes must be 3 to 5 minutes.

• Timing begins after the introduction. Any participant going more than fifteen seconds under time or over time will be penalized in the final tabulation of their score.

• For monologues, feel free to combine two or more short speeches from the same scene or make an internal cut, as long as connections are smooth and logical. Internal cuts are allowed in scenes as well.


• Seek roles that you connect with and material you feel comfortable with.

• Discover what your character wants and who he/she wants it from. In playing the scene, fight for it, using the words as one of the primary mechanisms for achieving that aim.

• Make sure you are familiar with the whole play and know it well.

• Memorize your piece and perform it multiple times for people prior to filming for the competition. Prompting or starting over will not be permitted.

• For monologues: Do not direct your focus to the camera. A downstage focus to the slight left or right of the camera is best.

• Simple staging is best. A chair is permitted to be used.

• Props should not be used unless it is essential to the action and something you might normally wear or carry such as a handkerchief, a watch, a letter in your pocket, a scarf, a jacket, etc.

• Students should speak clearly but naturally. We want to hear your own voice rather than an affected British accent.


• You will be assigned a Participant Number such as “B15” which should be used in your introduction rather than your name.

Sample Monologue Introduction: “Hello I am B15. My piece is from Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 2 and I will be playing Claudius.”

Sample Scene Introduction: “Hello we are B16. Our scene is from Measure for Measure, Act 3 Scene 1. I will be playing Isabella and I will be playing Claudio.”


• Each participant will receive written feedback on their work.

• Adjudicators will observe voice, movement, character, and text.

• Each element will contribute to the overall effectiveness rating of Superior, Excellent, Good, or Fair.

• Participants will also receive a numerical ranking within their panel in order of excellence with 1 being the highest.

• Adjudicators will nominate candidates to be featured in the Showcase.

• The Showcase is not necessarily an indicator of final competition placement. Adjudicators select pieces that are in some way unique and of distinctive value for all students present to observe.

• The Showcase will aid in determining scholarship recipients.

What to Wear

• Dress should be neat, comfortable, presentable, and relatively conservative. Do not try to costume yourself, yet be mindful of what your character would or would not wear.

• A dress shirt, blouse or sweater, slacks, or solid colored dress/skirt and flat shoes work well.

• Make sure your hair is off your face and you are not wearing any dangling or distracting jewelry

Sample Monologue Adjudication Sheet
Sample Duo/Trio Adjudication Sheet

Registration & Payment Information

To register your team, please fill out the registration form and email to Education Director Anelise Diaz at

Click here to Download the Registration Form


2021 Agenda will be available April 2021.