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Seattle Rep Announces A New National Monologue Competition For High School Students

The Next Narrative Monologue CompetitionTM features the works of leading contemporary Black writers in a free arts program that will create direct engagement with living playwrights for education and inspiration.

SEATTLE, WA (October 7, 2021) – Seattle Rep today announced the opening of student registration for the inaugural Next Narrative Monologue CompetitionTM, a new national arts education program for high school students that will feature and expose participants to the works of a host of contemporary African American playwrights. Hosted at Seattle Rep, the program will introduce students to acting techniques via professional coaches and support them in investigating how art and culture influence personal perspectives. The competition launches this Fall and all high school-aged students in grades 9-12 living in Washington state may participate at no charge, with no theatrical experience necessary. For details visit >>

Seattle Rep and its partners across the country are joining Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in their launch of the Next Narrative Monologue Competition (NNMC). The NNMC features new works commissioned by True Colors from fifty of America’s leading contemporary Black playwrights that engage students of all backgrounds in artful exploration of 21st century themes including:

  • Class
  • Gender
  • Ableism/Inclusivity
  • Relationship to technology
  • Family/community
  • Cultural celebration/competency
  • Global warming/environmental
  • Immigration/international relationships
  • Social/emotional/physical health

“The Next Narrative Monologue Competition is an incredible opportunity for high-school students all over the country, and here in Seattle to learn about some of the country’s leading Black playwrights,” said Associate Director of Arts Engagement, Youth & Learning Alex Lee Reed. “This new monologue competition will also give students exposure to exciting new works, which directly ties in with Seattle Rep's Youth Engagement programs, Collective Playwriting, Black is the Light, and our first Youth New Works Festival this summer.“

Several well-known Black playwrights, including Robert O’Hara, Candrice Jones, Josh Wilder, James Tyler, and local favorite Cheryl L. West, have agreed to provide monologues for the competition. We share the sentiments of playwright Robert O’Hara who said it best: “What excites me about this new competition is that it will expand the canon of storytelling beyond traditional narratives and allow young people to explore language and voices that look, feel and sound like them... Black playwriting is vast and varied and deserves to be celebrated and witnessed.”

The competition will launch in the Fall with 50-minute informational workshops available to schools and community organizations. Students will progress through three rounds: Prelims, Semi-Finals, and a Regional Final. The top two winners from each region are then invited to compete in the National Finals, including an all-expense-paid trip to New York City hosted by True Colors Theatre Company. Student registration for the Next Narrative Monologue Competition opens October 7.

Seattle Rep collaborates with extraordinary artists to create productions and programs that reflect and elevate the diverse cultures, perspectives, and life experiences of our region — and the Next Narrative Monologue Competition is tantamount to that. The program not only reinforces Seattle Rep’s commitment to new work, but connects students directly with many of the country’s most talented contemporary playwrights around themes that touch several facets of their own identity and experiences.

Seattle Rep Announces A New National Monologue Competition For High School Students