Huntington Theatre to Host Framingham Poetry Out Loud Semi-Final, 3/1-2

Seventy-four high school students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will participate in four regional semi-final competitions March 1 and 2 as part of the ninth annual Poetry Out Loud. Semi-final competitions will be held in Boston, Framingham, Springfield, and on Cape Cod. All upcoming competitions are free and open to the public.

More than 24,000 students from 84 Huntington Theatre Company-supported high schools across the Commonwealth competed in recent months in classroom and school-wide competitions.

Each student participating in the Semi-Finals recently won his or her individual school's competition. Semi-Final winners will advance to the State Finals on Sunday, March 9 at 9:30am at Boston's Old South Meeting House, which will feature a performance by Langston Ward from Washington State, the 2013 POL National Champion, currently enrolled at Harvard University. The Huntington facilitates the Massachusetts competition with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Boston Semi-Finals will take place Saturday, March 1 at 9:30am at Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont Street, Boston).

The Framingham Semi-Finals will take place Saturday, March 1 at 9:30am at Framingham Lodge of Elks (450 Union Avenue, Framingham).

The Springfield Semi-Finals will take place Sunday, March 2 at 10:00am at Community Music School of Springfield (127 State Street, Springfield).

The Cape Cod Semi-Finals will take place Sunday, March 2 at 1:00pm at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod (307 Old Main Street, South Yarmouth).

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation competition that celebrates the power of the spoken word and a mastery of public speaking skills while cultivating self-confidence and an appreciation of students' literary heritage as they take poetry from the page to the stage. Since its inception eight years ago, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.

The Massachusetts POL winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC this coming spring to compete in the national finals.

Semi-Final judges and prompters include: Michael Ansara (co-founder of Mass Poetry) and Massachusetts poets Jamele Adams, Sam Cha and Regina Cox. Adams and Cha will also perform.

"The study of poetry may be especially important for kids growing up in the age of tweets," observes Alison Lobron of The Boston Globe. "Close reading, after all, is essentially an act of listening; to learn a poem well enough to speak it aloud with confidence requires careful attention to someone else's words, someone else's experience. It means tuning out the clamor of voices competing for your attention - including your own - until you've fully heard what another person is saying."

Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre into the English class. The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with state arts agencies to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Huntington sponsor the Massachusetts contest; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation sponsor the competition on the national level.

Learn more about Poetry Out Loud at huntingtontheatre.org/pol.

Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premiere cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.




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