Annual Shakespeare Competition Guidelines for Teachers

Competition Date:
Thursday, Feb. 18 2016


Student Brochure (2016)        Annual Competition

Dear Educator,

Once again, Wingate University will sponsor the Annual Shakespeare Competition for high school students (9th through 12th grade) and middle school students (6th through 8th grade) from Union, Mecklenburg, and surrounding counties.  The contest will take place on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at the George A. Batte, Jr. Fine Arts Center on the campus of Wingate University. The deadline for registration is January 25, 2016.

Instructions for Entering the Contest

We would like to ask that each instructor download and distribute to students the brochure located on this website.  It contains an entry form and important information about the competition. The student entry fee is $10, which includes lunch.  Please make sure that both the parent/guardian and the teacher sign the forms.

Please note that students entering the contest must not have been paid to act in professional or semi-professional performances during the school year in which the competition occurs.

If you have any questions, please call Pam Merrill at 704-233-8074704-233-8074 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. or email her at

Guidelines for Performance

As stated in the National Shakespeare Competition Rules and Eligibility at, the purpose of the Shakespeare Competition is to help students develop their understanding of Shakespeare and their ability to communicate that understanding.  Students should memorize, interpret, and perform a monologue and a sonnet.  They are, therefore, encouraged to bring Shakespeare to life and to express his words with feeling, clarity, and a full sense of their meaning and intent. 

Please note the following guidelines:

a.   Students must restrict their drama selections to a minimum of 15 and no more than 20 lines from one of Shakespeare’s 38 plays. Length is determined according to The Folger Shakespeare Library Editions (Simon and Schuster, 2003-2013). Students performing longer monologues will be disqualified.  Suggestions can be found on this website.  NOTE:  Text of a student’s monologue can be taken from any edition of Shakespeare’s works as long as the complete selection of verse or prose is not longer than 20 lines.  The sonnet must be complete; no cutting of lines in the sonnet is allowed.

b.   Students should deliver a brief introduction to both the drama selection and the sonnet.  

c.   Students may look at notes, but the best performers maintain constant eye contact with the audience when delivering their introductions and have their monologues and sonnets memorized.

d.   Students should not use costumes or props because they detract from brief

            e.   Students should avoid artificial British accents, which often seem unnatural.

            f.    Students should try to choose passages that do not involve dialogue.

            g.   Students can pick any role regardless of their gender (i.e. females can play male roles and vice versa).

Directions and Parking Instructions

Contestants, teachers, and guests should plan to arrive at the Batte Fine Arts Center before 10:40 a.m.  Due to the closing of a section of Camden Road near the main entrance to the University, we suggest the following alternate route to the Batte Fine Arts Center.  Traveling east from Monroe or Charlotte on Highway 74, attendees should turn left on North Main Street at the second set of lights in Wingate.  They should then proceed one-fourth mile and turn right onto Oak Street (opposite the Levine College of Health Sciences on the left).  The Batte Center is a block down the street on the right.  Those traveling by car should park in the parking lots immediately to the right and north of the Batte Center.  Bus drivers should drop off students and teachers at the front entrance to the Batte Center.  Campus Security personnel will be on hand to direct bus drivers to the parking area for buses.  (Please refer to the campus map on the Wingate University web page at

Schedule of Events on the Day of the Competition

We will gather at 11:00 a.m. in the Batte Fine Arts Center on campus before fanning out to our preliminary rounds.  Programs will show preliminary-round assignments and indicate where students should be seated in the Batte Center.  It is very important that students arrive on time so that the contest can start promptly.  We cannot guarantee that students who arrive after preliminary rounds begin will be able to participate. 

After arriving at the Batte Center, students should take their seats as soon as possible.  After a brief introduction and welcome, students will be led to their preliminary-round site, where they will recite the sonnet and drama selection before other contestants in their group and two judges, a WU faculty/staff member and a WU student.

After the preliminary rounds are completed, the WU student judges will lead their group of students to the LaVerne Dining Hall where students will rejoin their instructors, parents, and others for the luncheon.  Instructors and bus drivers receive a complimentary lunch; parents and other guests may purchase meal tickets at the door for $10.00.

Final rounds will begin at about 1:00 p.m., and contestants will recite only the drama selection.  They will perform before other contestants in their division and three or four final-round judges who have expertise in Shakespeare and/or drama.

After the final rounds, we will have a short awards ceremony to announce the finalists in both the high school and middle school competitions.


Plaques will be awarded to the top four finishers in the high school division and to the top six finishers in the middle school division.  High school winners are eligible to receive a Wingate University tuition scholarship in the amount of $2,500, renewable each year of a four-year undergraduate program.

The National English-Speaking Union of the United States will again provide a free trip for the top high-school winner to compete in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York City in April, 2015. 

Other Information

While the final rounds in both the high school and the middle school divisions are open to anyone without charge, the preliminary rounds are reserved for participants.

Instructors should remind students that time restrictions make it impossible for judges to distribute critiques of student performances.  Ballots are used only in the final rounds and are available only for judges.

In case of inclement weather, postponement of the contest will be announced on the Wingate University website ( by 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the contest.  If no announcement appears on the website by this time, the contest will proceed as scheduled.

This project is supported by the Union County Community Arts Council Arts in the Schools Grant Program and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  We gratefully acknowledge their support.  In addition, the National English-Speaking Union remains the primary inspiration for the competition and has, since the inception of the event in 1984, provided useful guidelines, advice, and support.

For over thirty years, Wingate University has worked with instructors, community leaders, and the above-mentioned sponsors to provide a valuable educational and entertaining competition for creative students who seek an intimate understanding of some of the world’s finest literature.  The linguistic and performance skills acquired in the contest have made the experience a turning point in the lives of thousands of students, and each year the performances seem to improve.

We look forward to seeing you and your students at this year’s contest.  Please feel free to contact us at any point.


Dr. Allison Lenhardt, Director
            Annual Shakespeare Competition