On Sunday February 3, 2013, Boston was treated to ten excellent performances by Massachusetts finalists in the English Speaking Union's 30th annual High School Shakespeare Competition, held at Emerson College's Semple Theatre at the Tufte Performance Center.
The contest, co-sponsored for the first time by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, consisted of a prepared performance of a 20-line monologue from one of Shakespeare's plays , a sonnet recitation and then a cold reading of a monologue (with only 15 minutes to prepare) by each contestant.
We are pleased to announce that this year the judges selected Anna Bortnick of Wellesley High School as the winner to represent the Boston Branch in the national finals in New York City this April.
Anna's spirited and compelling performance of Julia's monologue from Two Gentlemen of Verona and cold reading of Cleopatra was selected among ten performances which spanned Shakespeare's works, from favorite tragedies such as King Lear and Romeo & Juliet to less-performed histories and romances such as Henry VI, Part I and The Winter's Tale. Anna will be representing Massachusetts and the Boston Branch of the English Speaking Union at the National finals in New York City's Lincoln Center on April 23.
The judges also singled out Allsun O'Malley of Winchester High School for her vivacious performance of Viola from Twelfth Night for honorable mention as the 2013 runner-up. Anna and Allsun have also been awarded full scholarships to attend Commonwealth Shakespeare's BARDS Summer program, a four-week intensive summer training program in Renaissance drama for young actors and actresses. We wish to thank all of the talented finalists for their impressive performances while wishing Anna all the best for her reading at the national competition this April.
The Annual Shakespeare Competition for High School Students begins in the 10th, 11th and 12th grade English or Theater Arts classrooms of public, private, parochial, and charter schools. Now in its 30th year, it is the E-SU's nationally acclaimed, curriculum-based educational program designed to celebrate the English language and encourage students to improve their language skills. It provides teachers with a proven tool to introduce their students to Shakespeare's universal message and helps students demonstrate their understanding of that message and improve their communication skills.
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.
To find out more about our programs click here.