New York City, May 5, 2014 -- Captivating audiences with a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, John Duff from Scituate, Massachusetts, a student of Ty Lemerande at Scituate High School in Scituate, placed as a semi-finalist in the 31st annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. The Competition was held on May 5th at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City for 58 winners of ESU Branch competitions nationwide. John had previously won the ESU Boston Branch regional competition.
This year's winner of the English-Speaking Union Indianapolis Branch competition, Scott Van Wye, won first prize in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition, winning a full Scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art's Young Actors Summer School in London, England. Second place winner, Chloe Bell, representing the Kentucky Branch, won a scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp. Third place winner, Ashish Ramachandran, representing the Greenwich Branch of the ESU, won $500 from The Shakespeare Society.
The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition is a school-based program designed to help students develop their speaking and critical thinking skills and their appreciation of literature as they explore the beauty of the language and timeless themes in Shakespeare's works. In three progressive competition levels, students memorize, interpret, and perform monologues and sonnets in their own schools, at ESU Branch-sponsored community competitions and at the National Shakespeare Competition. The program has engaged more than 250,000 young people since its inception. Citing its 31st season this year, the Honorable Bill De Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York, proclaimed May 5th as William Shakespeare Day. Danny Lopez, the British Consul-General in New York, read the proclamation, and Josiah Bunting III, Chairman of the English-Speaking Union, awarded certificates to the competitors.
The ESU provided the Branch winners with two full days of educational and cultural activities in New York City, including an exclusive acting workshop at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and a performance of the Realistic Joneses on Broadway. Perhaps best of all for these teenagers was the opportunity to spend a weekend in New York City with other students from across the country who share a love of theater, language and, particularly, Shakespeare.
The semi-finals competition judges were distinguished actors and educators: Sybille Bruun-Moss, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Shakespeare Forum, teaches Shakespeare for Actors, as well as Voice and Speech, and Shakespearean Text courses and has directed numerous productions including The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Hamlet, and the upcoming production of The Merchant of Venice at The Gym at Judson. She received a Master's of Science in Education from Pace University. Maurice Charney, past President of the Shakespeare Association of America, is a Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University and a Shakespearean scholar. Author and editor of many books and plays, his portfolio includes Shakespeare's Roman Plays, Style in Hamlet, Hamlet's Fictions, How to Read Shakespeare, and Shakespeare's Villains. Alexandra López, Associate Director of Education at Lincoln Center Theater, has worked as a theater director, producer and educator. She has directed for the Creative Arts Team Youth Theatre, Henry Street Settlement/Abrons Arts Center, and has produced theater performances at the University of Pennsylvania, Hamptons Shakespeare Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Alexandra has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre from the University of Pennsylvania. Geoffrey Owens, actor and director, most recently appeared on Broadway as Prince Escalus in Romeo and Juliet and played Jaques in As You Like It at the Two River Theatre. He has taught Shakespeare for over twenty years and recently directed Henry VI, Part II at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Ross Williams, director, teacher and performer, has taught in Toronto, Cleveland, Dallas and in NYC with Judith Shakespeare, Actors Shakespeare, New York Shakespeare Exchange and Red Bull Theater. He holds an MFA from the Cleveland Play House Professional Actor Training Program, and a BFA from Southern Methodist University.
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, educators and members. The ESU carries out its work through a network of 68 Branches, sponsoring a variety of language and international education programs.
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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