August Wilson is an award-winning playwright whose work examines a century of the African-American experience. This program offers students the opportunity to connect with their authentic voices, discover their leadership potential through artistic expression, and work with professionals in the Portland theatre community and beyond. They will compete for cash prizes and scholarships at both the Regional Finals in Portland and the National Finals in New York City.

“My daughter got everything out of this competition that I was hoping for. She took in every piece of constructive criticism, worked hard, showed up, and had a very gracious response towards the winners at the end. I told her I didn’t care what ‘place’ she took, as long as she showed the people that have been working with her how much she learned and how much she listened to them. I truly believe she did that and I will forever be grateful to the August Wilson monologue competition for all it did for her. She loved every minute of it and will take it with her into her future!!”
– Anonymous parent of a semi-finalist, 2013-2014


The AWMC gives students a chance to do things they never thought they could do. We provide them with the tools necessary to follow through on a project from beginning to end, while holding them accountable for their commitments, and giving them responsibility and ownership over their own successes. These tools will extend far beyond the AWMC into all aspects of your students’ lives.

“I cannot express enough how thankful and honored I am to have been a part of this competition. It has taught me to reach out and grasp new forms of learning, and new plays. August Wilson is now one of my biggest inspirations and this competition introduced me to his work. I very much wish that I could participate next year. If I could, I would repeat my senior year just to do this competition again. You are all such a supportive and amazing group of people and I can’t thank you enough!”
– Jaycie Hogan, 2014-2015

Two Portland students will compete on Broadway against students from nine other major American cities. Last year our first-place student, Alexis Cannard from Roosevelt High School, took third overall in the national competition, walking away with a once-in-a-lifetime experience and thousands of dollars in scholarships.

“I think my favorite part of finals in New York City was meeting the finalists from all over the country. I was able to make connections with the other students that were truly meaningful and I felt we were all really rooting for each other. That, and being able to perform on a Broadway stage while in high school! The whole weekend was definitely an experience I will never forget.”
– Alexis Cannard, 2016-2017

We also recently got the news that one of our 2013-2014 alumni, Hailey Kilgore from Clackamas High School, was cast in the lead role in the Broadway revival of Once On This Island, premiering this coming November. We couldn’t be more excited to see one of our students drawing on the experiences she had with us to achieve her wildest dreams.


We’d like to schedule assemblies in October and follow up with a November visit to check in, answer student questions, and give them another chance to enroll. We’ll bring our enthusiastic teaching artists into your school and bring your students one step closer to an immersive August Wilson experience they’ll never forget. We’ll talk them through the competition, give them some background on the playwright and African American culture, and even get those who are willing up on their feet. Presentations will be 45-60 minutes long, though we are entirely flexible with your needs. While we are actively looking to recruit students of color, all students are welcome and encouraged to apply.

To book a presentation, contact Operations Coordinator Jory Bowers at