Register Your High School
for Kansas City's
37th Annual Shakespeare Competition
Deadline for Schools to Register: February 8, 2021
All Kansas City area high schools are invited to our 37th annual Shakespeare Competition. The Competition is open to all high school students grades 9-12. Homeschool students are also welcome to enter. If you are a Theatre, English, Forensics or Debate teacher, we encourage you to enter your school in this exciting competition.
The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based education program in which high school students read, analyze, perform and recite Shakespeare's works. Since 1983, the competition has helped more than 400,000 young students develop communication skills and an appreciation for language and literature.
This year, just like last year, the Competition will be a virtual Competition. Each school has the flexibility to choose from two formats: a "Recorded Competition" (students uploading videos to YouTube) or a "Live via Internet" competition (students performing live in a Zoom meeting or similar platform).
The deadline for registering by submitting the School Participation Form online is February 8, 2021. Click here for the School Participation Form. Note that there is not a school fee for a school or home school organization to participate in this year's Shakespeare Competition.
The deadline for holding the School Competition and submitting the School Winner Form online is March 5, 2021 Click here for the School Winner Form.
Before you select the format for conducting your school competition, we want you to be aware that we have decided, after conferring with past judges of our branch competitions, to conduct the finals of the ESU Kansas City Branch competition using the "Recorded Competition" format.
Regardless of the format that your school uses for its school competition, your school winner needs to follow the instructions and rules for the "Recorded Competition" format and (1) record the performance/recitation of both the monologue and sonnet; (2) upload the recorded video to YouTube; and (3) provide you as the sponsoring teacher with the YouTube link to the uploaded video. You will then provide that same YouTube link when completing the online School Winner Form.
If your school is outside the Kansas City area, your school will have an opportunity to compete in the branch finals without the need for your school's winning student to travel to Kansas City. Instead, you will upload a video of the winning student's performance.
Click here for a memo to teachers from ESU National office
Click here for Covid-related Competition instructions
Clink here for an instructional video that may help the student with recording and uploading the video
Regardless of the format that you choose for your school competition, some basic rules have not changed.
● Your School Competition must be open to all students enrolled in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades or the equivalent for home school students.
● Your School Competition must involve a minimum of three students.
● Your School Competition must be judged by a panel of at least three individuals familiar with Shakespeare's works.
● Your School must register no later than February 8, 2021 using the ESU Kansas City Branch School Participation Form
Due to restrictions imposed by COVID, in April, the winner of the ESU Kansas City Branch Competition will represent Kansas City on the national level via a remote competition held online. Ten finalists will be chosen by a panel of distinguished judges and will perform their selections. The first-place National Competition Winner award is a full scholarship to attend a prestigious summer Shakespeare program at the British American Drama Academy and the second place winner will attend the American Shakespeare Center's summer Theater Camp in Staunton, VA. For additional information regarding the ESU National Shakespeare Competition, please visit https://www.esuus.org/esu/programs/shakespeare_competition/.
If you have any questions about the 2021 Shakespeare Competition, please contact:
Kansas City Shakespeare Competition Coordinator at
Phone: 816.691.3250 or