This is a banner year for the Syracuse branch of the English-Speaking Union of the United States for we held our twenty-fifth annual Shakespeare Competition on Saturday, March 2 from 9:00 AM until noon at Syracuse University's Storch Theatre. Nineteen area schools participated, their amazingly talented students receiving enthusiastic compliments from the judges for their preparation, clarity and understanding.
Katharine Moran and Chris Broadwell from National had hoped to join us for our 25th competition. Since such became impossible, they sent a letter from Alice Boyne and a certificate signed by Patricia Schroeder to commemorate the occasion.
We also presented a certificate of appreciation to SU Drama and Syracuse Stage for their support in providing a venue for our competition for all these years. Chris Botek, assistant to Timothy Bond, artistic director of Syracuse Stage, accepted the certificate.
To complete our celebration, Riley Mahan, our 2011 winner, was on hand to share her New York City experiences and to encourage our participants.
Each of the nineteen school winners received a copy of Essential Shakespeare Handbook by Dunton-Downer and Riding and one of our own competition t-shirts. All area school participants (145) received a certificate of participation.
Rachael Buchanan from Cicero-North Syracuse High School won first prize ($150 award) for her portrayal of the Jailer's Daughter in Two Noble Kinsmen and for her recitation of "Sonnet 29." Once her engraved name joins the names of our previous winners on our commemorative plaque, it will hang in her high school for the coming year. Rachael looks forward to joining nearly sixty other nationwide, regional winners for ESU's National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 21-23.
Our Second Place ($100 award) winner was Lexi Tucker from Union Springs. She chose the role of Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream and she presented "Sonnet 113."
Elizabeth Russell from John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix placed third ($50 award) as Viola from Twelfth Night and with her recitation of "Sonnet 149."
Three honorable mention awards went to Collin Purcell from Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Alexander Leblond of Jamesville-Dewitt High School, and Molly Burdick from Nottingham High School. Each participant received $25.
We were fortunate that Malcolm Ingram, Associate Professor of Voice and Acting in the Syracuse University Drama Department, was able to conduct a workshop for our students at the Storch Theatre several days prior to the competition.
Celia Madeoy, an Assistant Professor and Actor on Performance Faculty member of Syracuse University Drama, led a warm-up session immediately before the competition and also acted as one of our judges. Her training includes London's Globe and the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. She holds a MFA from DePaul University's Theatre School in Chicago.
A second judge Elizabeth Ingram, Associate Professor of Voice and Acting with Syracuse University Drama, coordinates the All Star CAST program. Trained at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, she has worked extensively in London's West End Theatre. In the US, her primary focus is with Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, and with Syracuse Stage.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice and Verse at Syracuse University Drama, our third judge Holly Thuma is Director of the MFA Pedagogy Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She has enjoyed teaching, speaking, and directing Shakespeare's words with people of all ages.
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