August Wilson Youth Intensive

A FREE training program for high school students

About the Program
About the Competition
Program Dates
How to Apply

The August Wilson Youth Intensive is a FREE training program that prepares young artists to participate in the August Wilson New Voices Competition. Over the course of six weeks, participants will explore the history of August Wilson and receive coaching from professional artists as they prepare for their performance or design presentation.

During the first half of this intensive, participants will meet as a full group to learn more about August Wilson, explore the history behind the Century Cycle, and discuss how the themes in Wilson’s work continue to resonate today.

In the latter half of the program, participants interested in performance will select a piece from the August Wilson Compendium, a curated list of monologues prepared by the August Wilson New Voices team. Guided by experienced teaching artists, these participants will then analyze, memorize, and prepare their chosen monologue for performance.

Participants interested in design will also choose a monologue from the August Wilson Compendium. With the help of design professionals, these participants will spend the final weeks of the program creating a work of art such as a collage, assemblage, or drawing inspired by the chosen text. As part of this process, design participants will investigate the works of Romare Bearden, Betye Saar, and other prolific artists of the Civil Rights era.


Program Dates

The 2023 session of August Wilson Youth Intensive will meet in-person at Goodman Theatre (170 N Dearborn St.) every Saturday from 10am-1pm. The program will begin on Saturday, January 21 and conclude on February 25.


About the Competition

The August Wilson New Voices Competition (AWNV) is a city-wide competition open to all Chicago high school students in honor of the late Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, August Wilson. To participate, students engage in three rounds of competition by either performing a 2-3 minute monologue or creating a visual design presentation from one of the ten plays in August Wilson’s Century Cycle. The top two students from the Chicago Regional Finals receive a cash prize and are granted the opportunity to compete at the AWNV National competition with students from across the country. Applications for the competition will be open from January-February, 2023. Please stay tuned for more information.


  • March 6-9, 2023: Chicago Preliminaries
  • March 20, 2023: Chicago Semi-Final
  • April 3, 2023: Chicago Finals (Location: Goodman Theatre)
  • April 29-May 2, 2023: National Finals (This year's national finals will be held in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre)


How to Apply

Applications are now open for the August Wilson Youth Intensive. Fill out the form at the link below to apply. If you are under eighteen years old, you will also need a parent or guardian's signature to complete this form.

In addition to providing some basic contact information, please be prepared to answer the following question:

  • Why are you interested in participating in the August Wilson New Voices Competition?

The deadline to apply for this program has been extended to Friday, January 6, 2023.