Trinidad Ramkissoon Wins Boston August Wilson Monologue Competition

Trinidad Ramkissoon of Boston Day and Evening Academy took first place on Saturday with his performance as Troy from Fences at the Boston Finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition, held for the fourth year by the Huntington Theatre Company, the playwright's longtime artistic home. Fatima Barry ("Rose," Fences) of Boston Adult Technical Academy was named first runner-up; Ashley Herbert ("Black Mary," Gem of the Ocean) of Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers was named second runner-up. The three will compete in the competition's National Finals at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre on Saturday, May 5.

Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) celebrates the writing of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright. This year, over 500 high school students from eleven Boston Public Schools participated at the school level; school winners advanced to the Boston Finals, held February 1 at the Huntington's Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The top three winners receive all-expense-paid trips to New York City for the National Finals provided by Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theatres where they will also participate in workshops and attend Broadway performances.

"For many of our students through the city, being invisible is the way to safety and surviving," said Connie Borab, a teacher from Boston Day and Evening Academy. "Yet these young people, these "Wilsonian soldiers," find their voices and courageously say, 'see me and hear the truth that (August Wilson and) I have to tell.'"

In preparation for the Boston competition, Huntington Education Department staff and teaching artists visited eleven Boston public high schools weekly since last October to introduce Wilson and the ten plays of his Century Cycle about the 20th century African-American experience, as well as to support script analysis and character development and coach students in their performances in preparation for the competition. The participating schools were: Academy of the Pacific Rim, Another Course to College, Boston Adult Technical Academy, Boston Day and Evening Academy, Brighton High School, Codman Academy Charter Public School, Dorchester Academy, Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, McKinley South End Academy, New Mission High School, and Snowden International School at Copley.

In competition, students performed a two to three-minute monologue of their choosing from one of the ten plays. Judges at the Boston competition were local actor Johnny Lee Davenport, local playwright and actor Obehi Janice, local playwright Terrence Kidd, EdVestors BPS Arts Expansion Director Ruth Mercado Zizzo, and Huntington Trustee Joie LeMaitre.

The Boston regional August Wilson Monologue Competition was funded in part by the BPS Arts Expansion Initiative, a multi-year initiative focused on access, equity, and quality arts learning for BPS students. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org/awmc and truecolorstheatre.org/august-wilson-monologue-competition.

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