Chicago HS Students to Compete in August Wilson Monologue Competition

Cover Photo:  Giving Voice. Aaron Guy performing in the August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York, NY. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2020

The August Wilson Monologue Competition, celebrating its 13th year, announced details for 2022, including the return of “Designing August,” the scenic and costume design arm of the competition, for its second year. The free competition serves more than 300 high school students annually with competition, masterclasses, and college scholarships. After two preliminary rounds, twenty finalists in the monologue category will be invited to compete at the Goodman Theatre on May 2, 2022, at 6 pm. The “Designing August” winners will also be announced at the finals.

The August Wilson Monologue Competition is free for participants. Details about the competition are available at
The August Wilson Monologue Competition is presented by Derrick Sanders and Goodman Theatre, in collaboration with the League of Chicago Theatres.
The 2022 competition schedule is as follows:
February 7-March 4: School applications are due for teachers and administrators to apply for their students online.
February 22-March 15: Student Applications for acting and design deadline
March 21: Final designs due
March 21-March 23: Monologue Preliminary Auditions at Roosevelt University and Logan Center for the Arts
April 18: Semi-Final Monologue Auditions at Victory Gardens Theater
April 23: Masterclass, coaching for finalists
May 2 at 6 pm: Final Monologue and Design Competition at Goodman Theatre
Open to Chicago area high school students, the competition gives students an opportunity to explore and share the richness of August Wilson’s Century Cycle and to expose a new generation of creative minds to the life’s work and artistic legacy of this seminal American playwright.
August Wilson’s Century Cycle is a singular achievement in American theatre. Each of the ten world-class plays is set in a different decade of the twentieth century. At the plays’ core are soaring, lyrical monologues that take the rich song, laughter, and pain of the African American experience and place it in the mouths of the most varied ensemble of characters written since Shakespeare. The plays of the Century Cycle are: Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf.
Program participants from around Chicago will encounter Wilson’s ten-play cycle and receive coaching from teaching artists to prepare their monologues for competition. Producing Director, Derrick Sanders, and Associate Director, Charlique C. Rolle, hope to continue building robust partnerships with schools across Chicago, creating educational opportunities that allow students to connect to August Wilson and his work through the study of history, social studies, and literature.
In December 2020, Netflix released Giving Voice, a full-length documentary about the national August Wilson Monologue Competition and the importance and influence of Wilson’s work on the students. The inspirational film features footage of the Chicago Monologue Competition and Derrick Sanders, along with interviews of Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, and Stephen Henderson.
For more information about the Chicago competition, visit

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