Honolulu, February 21, 2015 – Sarah Spalding from Mid-Pacific Institute, a student of John Wat, won the Hawaii segment of the 2015 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. Alisa Boland, a student of Rob Duval at Iolani School, took second place. Nicholas Howe, a student of Julia LoPresti at Mililani High School, was awarded third place. Sarah had already won the school level Shakespeare competition coordinated by Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu. The ESU Branch competition was held on February 21, 2015 at the Luke Auditorium in Punahou School's Wo International Center in Honolulu, and 16 school winners from the ESU Hawaii area participated, including one student from Maui and three from Hawaii Island. All participants were awarded single volume editions of the complete works of Shakespeare and complimentary tickets to upcoming performances in the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival season and the spring production of the Hawaii Theatre Young Actors Ensemble. In addition to monetary awards, the top three finishers each received six free tickets to Hawaii Shakespeare Festival's summer season. Sarah impressed the judges and captivated the audience with her performance of Rosalind from As You Like It and her recitation of Sonnet 151. She will go on to represent the ESU Hawaii area as a semi-finalist at the national competition to be held on Monday, April 27, 2015 at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Sarah will be awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for the final stage of the competition, which this year marks the 451th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. She also receives two full days of educational and cultural activities, including an exclusive acting workshop at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a visit to the William Shakespeare statue in Central Park. Perhaps best of all for Sarah will be the opportunity to spend a weekend with other Branch winners from across the country who share her love of the Bard and his works.
Sarah will be competing for amazing opportunities this summer. The first place winner of the national competition receives a full scholarship to study acting in Shakespeare's homeland, England (transportation, housing and food included). Last year the national winner attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art's Young Actors Summer School inLondon. The second place winner received an all-expenses-paid scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Centre's Theater Camp inStaunton,VA. The third place winner received $500 from The Shakespeare Society.
The judging panel at the National Competition consists of actors, directors, Shakespeare scholars and educators. Past judges have included Andre Braugher, Kate Burton, Maurice Charney, Blythe Danner, Barry Edelstein, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Edward Herrmann, Dana Ivey, Kristin Linklater, Peter MacNicol, Jesse L. Martin, Cynthia Nixon, Tina Packer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nancy Piccione, Phylicia Rashad, Christopher Reeve, Louis Scheeder, Richard Thomas, Courtney B. Vance, Sam Waterston, Dianne Wiest, Gene Wilder and Irene Worth.
The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based education program in which high school students nationwide read, analyze, perform and recite Shakespearean monologues and sonnets. Through the program, students develop communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature. In three progressive competition levels, students present the Bard's works in their own schools, at ESU Branch sponsored community competitions and at the National Shakespeare Competition. Since 1983, the program has given more than 250,000 young people of all backgrounds the opportunity to bring the timeless works of Shakespeare to life and learn to express his words with understanding, feeling and clarity. ESU Hawaii has been part of the competition since its inception.
The English-Speaking Union of the United States is a non-profit, non-political educational organization, whose mission is to celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, teachers and its members. The ESU carries out its work through a network of 70 Branches and affiliates in the United Kingdom and 60 other countries, sponsoring a variety of language and international education programs. To join The English-Speaking Union, visit www.esuus.org or call 212-818-1200.
The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.
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