August Wilson Monologue Competition: Welcoming a New Generation into PDX Theatre

The August Wilson Red Door Project is proud to bring the nationally-recognized August Wilson Youth Monologue competition to Portland in 2013. Download the press release. Video above courtesy of our partners at Center Theater Group, Los Angeles, CA.

The August Wilson Youth Monologue Competition (AWMC) was launched locally in Atlanta in 2007 by True Colors Theatre Company. Modeled on successful Shakespeare monologue competitions for young people, AWMC grew in five years to seven major theatre cities—Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Seattle, and Pittsburgh, Wilson’s home—and includes renowned performing arts organizations such as L.A.’s Center Theatre Group and Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Due to the work of the August Wilson Red Door Project, Portland now joins this prestigious circle.

Connecting with Wilson’s Legacy

The program brings Wilson’s famed “Century Cycle,” ten plays that span the 20th century, to a new generation of actors, who will learn about the American experience from the African-American viewpoint, an important thread often missing from history lessons or poorly portrayed in other works for the stage and screen. Supported by teachers and community leaders, and guided by professional actor and director mentors, students will study monologues from Wilson’s plays and perform them at publicly viewed Portland auditions. The top three Portland finalists will compete in national finals at the August Wilson Theater in New York City.

Becoming Part of the Theatre Community

The competition also provides an opportunity to welcome talented young people into the Portland arts community, where they can continue to contribute their gifts and talents for the enrichment of all. The competition is open to all 10th through 12th grade students in the Portland area and is not limited to those who are already involved in theatre arts. Young people with an interest in literature, poetry, spoken word art, music and the arts in general would make good candidates for this competition and leadership opportunity.

A Different Kind of Leadership Opportunity

The AWMC is much more than a competition. As students explore Wilson’s characters and themes in a safe supportive atmosphere, and as they gain the confidence and skills to perform in front of large audiences and, maybe, represent their city on the national scene, their horizons widen, their dreams expand, and their knowledge of how to get what they want grows exponentially.

2013 Activities

In 2013, the August Wilson Red Door Project will be establishing a network of educators, theatre artists, and community leaders who can help us find and support young people who can take advantage of this remarkable opportunity. We will hold a workshop for these folks on June 3rd, so they are ready to work with students during the fall. More information about the workshop is available here, where attendees can also RSVP. Auditions begin January 2014.

Become a Sponsor

We are looking for sponsorships for the August Wilson Youth Monologue Competition. Help bring theatre to life for a generation of Portland-area students, and take part in this transformative project. By sponsoring the AWMC,  you will play a vital part in nurturing the best in Portland’s young people: the desire to create, to collaborate and to succeed. For more information, visit our AWMC sponsorships page.