COVID-19 Important Update: PSF has canceled all performances in the 2020 season.

PSF's 2020 Shakespeare Competition


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

The Competition provides multiple performance opportunities for students, direct evaluation of each performance by actors and teaching artists from New York and Philadelphia, and observation of peer and university performances. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in 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!


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

General Information

Click Here to Download General Information Document

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 multiple performance opportunities, direct evaluation of each performance by working theatre professionals and observation of peer and university performances. 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 all rounds of the competition, workshops, and the panel discussions with professional artists.  Panel topics may include: choosing your text, headshots, working in the theatre, and majoring in theatre. 

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. Throughout the day, adjudicators will be nominating candidates to present their piece 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. 

The cost for the competition is $25 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 present their Monologues or Duo/Trio Scenes at the PSF Shakespeare Competition. Schools may wish to hold their own preliminary screening to select participants.

Entry forms must be received no later than Friday, February 7, 2020.  No changes of entries will be allowed after that date.

Each of the Monologues and Duo/Trio scenes will be presented three times, once in each of three rounds, evaluated by three separate adjudicators.  Oral critiques will be given by the adjudicators in each round.  (Ratings and rankings will not be disclosed, but running time may be given on request.)  Any contestant not participating in all three rounds will be disqualified and no Team Points will be awarded.  For more information on evaluation, please see our Guidelines for Students and Coaches

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 for a list of restaurant options near the DeSales University campus.

Competition Guidelines

Click Here to Download Guidelines Document


  • 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 in two of the three rounds 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 the competition.  Prompting or starting over will not be permitted.
  • For monologues: Do not direct your focus to the adjudicator.  A downstage focus to the slight left or right over the adjudicator’s head is best.
  • Simple staging is best. A chair will be available for you to use.
  • 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 perform three times at the competition – once in each of three rounds.
  • Each round is split into Panel A and Panel B.  The first 45 minutes of the round, Panel A will present their pieces and then the adjudicator will give feedback.  The second 45 minutes of the round are then for Panel B to present and receive their feedback.
  • 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.”

  • Please wait for the adjudicator to write this information down and invite you to begin.
  • After you perform, transition out of character and say, “Thank you,” and return to your seat.
  • Coaches, parents, classmates and friends are welcome to observe in each round as long as they maintain a quiet respect for each of the participants. Clapping, cheering, and photography/video recording are not permitted.


  • Each participant will receive written and oral feedback on their work.
  • Adjudicators will be observing 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.
  • These two scores from each of the three rounds will be tabulated to establish final competition placement.
  • Throughout the day, adjudicators will be nominating candidates to present their piece 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.  


  • 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. 
  • For men: A dress shirt or sweater and slacks work well.
  • For women: A blouse, skirt, or solid-colored dress or slacks, and flat shoes work well.
  • Make sure your hair is off your face and you are not wearing any dangling or distracting jewelry.
  • You will be traveling to different buildings on the DeSales University campus throughout the day.  Bring comfortable shoes and appropriate seasonal outerwear.
  • The cafeteria at the University Center will likely be CLOSED for DSU's spring break. We recommend packing your lunch, but there are also several quick options in close proximity to campus.

Sample Monologue Adjudication Sheet
Sample Duo/Trio Adjudication Sheet

Registration & Payment Information

Please complete the Entry, Payment and Photo Release forms and return them to Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival no later than Friday, February 7, 2020.

Forms may be mailed to:
PSF Shakespeare Competition
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

Or scanned and e-mailed to:

Entry and Payment Form
Photo Release Form
Additional Student Payment Form

Congratulations to the Winners of the
2017 Shakespeare Competition!

Winners of the 2017 Shakespeare Competition. Photo by Marla Wolfinger.

School Team Awards

First Place

Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, Bethlehem, PA

Second Place

Abington Friends School, Jenkintown, PA

Third Place

North Penn High School, Lansdale, PA

Monologue Awards

First Place

Krystal Hall as Lady Percy from Henry IV, Part 1 
– Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts

Second Place

Hannah Krivulka as Viola from Twelfth Night 
– Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts

Third Place

Kellan McMichael as Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing
– Homeschool

Scene Awards

First Place

Kristopher Sanchez and August Fegley as Benedick & Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
– Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts

Second Place

Andrew Bozzelli IV, Daniel Wescoe & Liam McKee as Macbeth, Witch 1 & Witch 2 from Macbeth
 – North Penn High School

Third Place

Saria Rosenhaj and Drew Jacobson as Isabella & Claudio from Measure for Measure
– Abington Friends School

Scholarship Recipients

Aiden McDonald, Krystal Hall, Patrick Moran, Hannah Krivulka, Kyle Jacobs, Gabe Moses, Drew Jacobsen, Gabe Savage, Olivia Behr, Kristopher Sanchez, and August Fegley.


Mark Your Calendars for Next Year’s Competition-
Saturday, March 2, 2019!