The August Wilson Monologue Competition enables students from all walks of life to discover August Wilson's profound and deeply relevant works of art, study the craft of acting, explore their own creative voices, and learn more about our shared history and themselves.

Center Theatre Group has been the Los Angeles home for the National August Wilson Monologue Competition since 2011. More than a contest, the August Wilson Monologue Competition is an educational journey that includes workshops with teaching artists where students hone their acting and storytelling skills, auditions where theatre professionals offer feedback to all participants, and an introduction to August Wilson and The American Century Cycle.

Thanks to everyone who participated in and supported the 2016/2017 August Wilson Monologue Competition. Congratulations to first-place finish Aryana Williams, second-place finisher Alexander Villaseñor, and third-place finisher Elija Hall.


Current high school students in grades 10, 11, and 12 from Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties are eligible to participate (verify your county at Students must be enrolled in high school the whole school year and may not be older than 19 on the day of the National Finals (which take place in the spring) to participate in all stages of the program.


Sign up here to receive more information and a copy of the Registration Form for the 2017/2018 August Wilson Monologue Competition. We will follow up with you by email to confirm receipt of your interest and to verify that all provided information is correct. In order to participate in the Preliminary Auditions, you must complete a Registration Form provided to you by Center Theatre Group and attend an Orientation Meeting.

If you have further questions, please contact us by email or phone at 213.972.0720.

Frequently Asked Questions

Expandable element Is the program open to students without acting experience? What about students who are not African-American? Or students who don't go to public school?

No acting experience is required, and in fact we encourage students with all levels of experience to participate. We also welcome students of all ethnicities and backgrounds. The program is open to public, private, charter, and home schooled students from Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.

Expandable element Can participants, regional semi-finalists, and regional finalists participate for a second or third year?

Yes. You may participate again as long as you did not advance to the National Finals in New York.

Expandable element Can I still apply if I am not available on one of the program dates, including training and rehearsal sessions?

Please do not apply if you are not available on all of the program dates. Semi-Finalists and Regional Finalists are required to participate in all training and rehearsal sessions.

Expandable element Is there a fee to participate?

No. The August Wilson Monologue Competition is entirely free to all participating students from start to finish. Our top two Regional Finalists receive an all-expenses-paid, chaperoned trip to New York City for the National Finals.

Expandable element What is a monologue, and how do I pick one to perform?

A monologue is a speech presented by a single character set within the context of a play.

August Wilson Monologue Competition participants are required to select a monologue from the current National August Wilson Monologue Competition compendium. Original monologues or monologues by other playwrights may not be performed. We encourage you to choose a couple of monologues that pique your interest and invest in reading the full plays so that you have a richer understanding of the characters and the story. It is important for an actor to play to his or her strengths, so explore and find a monologue that really speaks to you, connects to your heart, and to your own experiences and/or imagination in some way. Then decide which one is right for you, and have fun creating and portraying the character’s story.

We encourage you to attend our Introductory Workshops for more advice on picking the right monologue for you.

Monologues cannot be edited and must be performed as written in the compendium. If you are uncomfortable with the language and subject matter, please select a different monologue.

Expandable element How long should my performance be?

Your monologue performance must be between one and three minutes.

Expandable element Do I need to memorize my monologue?

Yes. You must commit your monologue to memory. But trust us: fully memorizing your monologue will give you confidence.

Expandable element What should I wear and bring? Are props and/or costumes allowed?

Dress comfortably but neatly so as not to distract the judges. Props and/or costumes are not allowed. There will be one chair that you can sit on while performing if you'd like, but it should not be used as a prop.

Expandable element Who judges the auditions and will I receive feedback?

Panels of theatre professionals judge all rounds of auditions. Written feedback will be provided to all participants in the Preliminaries and Semi-Finals approximately 2-3 weeks following auditions.

Expandable element Can family and friends attend auditions?

The Preliminaries and Semi-Finals are closed to the public. The Regional Finals and National Finals are open to the public and are free to attend.