A performance-based educational program serving grades 9-12
ESU Denver Shakespeare Competition


The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based education program. High school students develop analytical and communication skills by performing Shakespeare at the school, community, and national levels. Since 1983 more than 360,000 students have brought the timeless works of Shakespeare to life. 2024 marks the 40th year the ESU Denver Branch has participated in the National Shakespeare Competition. The Competition helps students develop speaking and critical-thinking skills while they explore the beauty of the language and the timeless themes in Shakespeare’s works. By preparing a monologue and sonnet for public presentation, students bring Shakespeare to life in their own way and learn to express his works with understanding, clarity, and feeling. Some 2,500 teachers and 20,000 students in nearly 60 ESU branches participate each year.

High school students from the Denver area (Grades 9-12) will compete for First Place at the Denver Finals with the winner advancing to the National Finals in New York City in April 2025. Students perform and recite Shakespeare monologues and sonnets in three qualifying stages: school, branch, and National levels.

If you are a Theatre, English or Forensics teacher, or administer a home school program, we encourage you to enter to give your students an opportunity to participate in this exciting competition. If you are an interested high school student, please alert your teachers to this valuable program. 

The 2025 ESU National Shakespeare Competition will soon be underway in schools across the country. Following are upcoming deadlines for this year’s competition:

  • Branch Registration Deadline – October 2024 (Date TBA)
  • School Registration Deadline – November 2024 (Date TBA)
  • Branch Competitions must be held prior to March 2025 (Date TBA)
  • Branch Winner Packets must be returned to ESU by March 17, 2024

The competition finals will be held at Lincoln Center in NYC in late April 2025 (Date TBA)

2025 Prizes TBA; 2024 Prizes Included:

  • 1st place: British American Drama Academy Mid-Summer Conservatory Program in Oxford, London
  • 2nd place: American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA
  • 3rd place: $1000

Program Details
Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Documents & Forms

All materials including the online school participation form, teacher and student handbooks, and packets of monologues and sonnets are located here.

Branch Contact

Contact Denver Branch Competition Coordinator Cindy Poinsett for questions:>

Denver Shakespeare Competition

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition has been recognized by the Globe Center (USA), the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America and the American Academy of Achievement. It is the only national Shakespeare competition in the U.S. and the only such program exclusively for high school students.