Just the FAQS: PPT Shakespeare Contest Details for MTW and HAT Co

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Details for Hope Academy’s Musical Theater Workshop  and HAT Co (Hope Academy’s Teen Theater Company) Students


Teaching Artists: Tonya Lynn and Alisa Cullison

  • Sunday, Feb 11 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm – Open Dress Rehearsal @ ELPC – call time is 12:30 pm
  • Monday, Feb 12 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm – MTW Preliminary Round @ Pittsburgh Public Theater  – call time 2:30 pm
  • Monday, Feb 18 at 7:00 pm – Showcase of Finalists @ Pittsburgh Public Theater

HAT Co (grades 6 – 12)
HAT Co Theater Ensemble Director: Meredith Hoppe 

  • Sunday, Feb 11 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm – Open Dress Rehearsal @ ELPC – call time 2:00 pm
  • Thursday, Feb 15 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm – HAT Co Preliminary Round @ Pittsburgh Public Theater – call time 2:30 pm
  • Monday, Feb 18 at 7:00 pm – Showcase of Finalists @ Pittsburgh Public Theater


  • The contest is open to all students in grades 4 -12.
  • Participants must register with the Pittsburgh Public Theater through this online form. Please answer “Hope Academy” to the question “School Name.”
  • No previous acting experience necessary.
  • Choose a monologue (20-25 lines minimum to 60 lines maximum) or scene (no more than 5 minutes) from any Shakespeare play. [We will help students select monologues/scenes and will work on a “group monologue” for each class.]
  • All scene performers must be active participants.
  • Students may participate in either the monologue or scene contest, or both.
  • Monologues and scenes must be memorized – prompting of any kind will not be permitted.
  • Costumes and props should be kept to a minimum.


  • Understanding of the text
  • Emotional connectedness
  • Character development
  • Physical and vocal performance
  • Pacing and the interaction amongst the actors in a scene

Getting there

  • Give yourself enough time to arrive at the theater at least a half-hour before our scheduled performance time. Make sure you have directions to the Pittsburgh Public Theater.
  • Your call time is 2:30 pm (for MTW and HAT Co)
  • If you are changing into clothing or footwear at the theater, make sure that everything you need is packed into a bag the day before (especially if you are coming straight from school). Remember hair products, if necessary.
  • We will bring any props.
  • Generally, costumes are discouraged (especially for monologues). Girls may wear skirts if they are playing a woman. Loose comfortable clothing and shoes that you can move in are best. Soft-soled shoes or tennis shoes only! (no heels of any kind)
  • If someone is driving you, ask them to drop you off at the door of the Pittsburgh Public/O’Reilly Theater before they park the car.
  • You will be given a cell phone number for one of your teaching artists to call in the case of an emergency

Meeting in the lobby

  • You will not need to register in the lobby this year. There is an online registration form that must be completed.
  • We will give you a link once we have selected monologues and scenes. .
  • One or both of your teaching artists may take you through a brief warm up (if time and space allows). It would be a good idea to do a vocal warm up on your way to the theater, just in case.
  • Use the bathroom and get a drink of water before you are taken into the theater.
  • Check yourself in the mirror and make sure everything is in place (buttons, zippers, snaps, hair, etc.).
  • Throw away your gum!
  • If you normally wear makeup you may do so for the performance, but nothing elaborate or distracting unless it is pre-approved by your teachers.
  • Make sure your hair is out of your face. If you need bobby pins or hairspray to do this, make sure you have some in your bag.
  • If you are wearing a hat, make sure that it does not cast a shadow and the audience can see your eyes.

Going into the theater

  • We will enter the theater together at the scheduled time (unless they are running behind schedule, so be prepared to wait, if that’s the case).
  • We may be the only group in the theater at this time or there may be other schools or individuals with us. This varies from year to year.
  • Tell your family that there is no flash photography or videotaping allowed.
  • Pittsburgh Public Theater’s Director of Education will introduce herself to you and give you an explanation of what will happen and what you should do.
  • She will tell you the order that you will perform in – please do not request a different order or complain in any way!
  • You will sit in the front row of seats in the order that you are performing. Do not switch seats.
  • Your family and friends will sit in seats throughout the theater.
  • Turn off your cell phone and do not take it out again until you leave the theater.
  • Sit quietly while others are performing their monologues and scenes and cheer them on when they are done. Be a good audience member.
  • While you are sitting and waiting, look at the stage and make a clear decision about where you will enter from and exit to.

Performing your monologue or scene

  • Details about the stage: You will be performing on the set of the current production, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”
  • We will know more about the set soon and will discuss and show photos in class, so that you know what to expect.
  • There are chairs and benches available. Your teacher will make sure that whatever you need is there.
  • The Director of Education will ask if anyone needs any of these set pieces and will help you get them in place.
  • When your name is called, walk onto the stage and wait for the judges to give you a signal that it’s OK to begin. They are usually completing notes about the performance just before you.
  • Introduce yourself, pause and then begin your monologue.You may begin from the same spot that you introduced yourself from or you can leave the stage and make an entrance. You should discuss this with your teacher and make a decision beforehand.
  • Introduction: “Hello, my name is _________________. I am in the upper/lower division from Hope Academy. I will be playing character’s name from name of play.
  • The lower division includes students in grades 4 through 7; the upper division includes students in grades 8 through 12.
  • Your teachers will have copies of all of your monologues with them and will be able to prompt you if you forget your lines. If this happens, try to remain calm and pick up from where you left off.
  • When you have finished your monologue, pause, say “Thank You,” and walk slowly and confidently off the stage and back to your seat.
  • We try to take a group photo on the stage at the end (if there is time) so be prepared to stay for this.

Leaving the theater

  • When everyone has performed his or her monologue/scene we will be escorted out of the theater and into the lobby.
  • There will be a table there where you can get your Pittsburgh Public Theater Shakespeare Contest t-shirt and a pass for two tickets to any show. Don’t forget to pick these up on your way out.
  • If you are waiting for a ride, please stay in the lobby and make sure that you tell one of your teachers when you leave.

Out of the nearly 1,000 students who compete in the contest, only about 30 will be selected as finalists. The Pittsburgh Public Theater will call finalists at home on Friday night or Saturday morning. If you are called you will be given instructions and possibly “notes” (suggestions) from the judges. Write these down so that you can discuss them with your teacher or coach. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette often prints a listing of finalists in Saturday’s morning edition of the newspaper. The Showcase of Finalists is on Monday, February 18 at 7 pm. Everyone should plan on attending the Showcase. It’s a lot of fun and a good way to get some ideas for next year!


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