College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

The John A. Lesser Invitational High School Shakespeare Festival

The Lesser Festival is an annual festival and competition of Shakespeare’s works in performance for area high school students.

Each April, area high school students compete by offering performances of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays in categories for Female Monologue, Male Monologue, Group Single Excerpt, and Group Composite. First, second, and third place prizes, as well as honorable mentions, are awarded in each category, and the first place winner in each category also displays a trophy for that category until the following year’s competition.

A brief history of the competition: The Invitational High School Shakespeare Festival was initiated in 1974 by Professor Lillian Wilds as part of a university outreach program. Several years later, Regina Fadiman donated money in memory of John A. Lesser, thereby creating the endowment that has ensured the Festival’s continuation.  The festival is coordinated and judged by EFL faculty.

For information contact Dr. Edward Rocklin.