A performance-based educational program serving grades 9-12
Kansas City 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 Kansas City Branch has participated in the National Shakespeare Competition. The Kansas City Branch has had two first place National winners, one second place National winner, and one third place National winner.

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. Approximately 2,500 teachers and 20,000 students in nearly 60 ESU branches participate each year.

High school students from the KC metro area (Grades 9-12) will be competing for First Place at the Kansas City Finals with the winner advancing to the National Finals in New York City in April 2024. Students perform and recite Shakespeare monologues and sonnets in three qualifying stages: school, branch, and National levels.

If you are a Theatre, English, 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. 

Watch this page for details on how to register your school for the 2025 ESU National Shakespeare Competition.

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 Kansas City Branch Competition Coordinator Dan Bukovac for questions:

Kansas City Shakespeare Competition

Two previous Kansas City Branch winners have won First Place in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York City. One past Kansas City winner won Second Place in the National Competition and, in 2017,  Trevon Wainwright from Paseo Academy, won Third Place in the National Finals. Four past Kansas City winners have placed in the top ten finalists in the National 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.