April 23 may have been a normal Monday for most students, but as the birthday of William Shakespeare and the date of the 35th Annual National Shakespeare Competition, April 23, 2018 will be a day that fifty-five high school students will never forget. Students from around the US competed on stage in the Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center as the culmination of a year-long competition hosted by the English-Speaking Union (ESU).
English in Action provided the semi-finalists who traveled to New York from around the country with two days of educational and cultural activities, including an exclusive acting workshop by the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University faculty and a tour of The Juilliard School. Perhaps best of all for these teenagers was the opportunity to spend time with other students from across the country who share a love of the English language and, particularly, Shakespeare.
from Palm Valley High School in Rancho Mirage, California was the winner of the 35th Annual English in Action National Shakespeare Competition and received a full scholarship to attend the Young Actor's Summer School at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. A student of Susie Zachik and representative of the ESU Palm Springs Branch, Jackson performed as Iago from Shakespeare's Othello
and recited Sonnet 55 in the final round of competition.
"Shakespeare is an art form. Shakespeare is fascinating and a truly remarkable advanced form of drama and theater. I'm looking forward to experiencing the exuberant life of the city once more. New York's energy, no matter how many times I visit the city, is beautifully contagious." wrote Jackson about Shakespeare and coming to New York City.
His advice for future Shakespeareans: "You guys can win too if you believe in it. Don't doubt yourself."
from Penfield High School in Penfield, New York placed second in the competition and received a scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theater Camp in Staunton, Virginia. A student of Regina Darling and representative of the ESU Rochester Branch, Eli performed as Parolles in Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well
and recited Sonnet 29 in the final round of competition.
"I'm excited to be surrounded by individuals who share a passion for something most individuals our age turn a blind eye to—individuals who look at Shakespeare as an art form, not an academic." wrote Eli about the experience of competing with fellow students.
from Medford High School in Boston, Massachusetts placed third in the competition and received a cash prize of $500. A student of Douglas Bowen-Flynn and representative of the ESU Boston Branch, Julia performed as Richard from Shakespeare's Richard III
and recited Sonnet 129 in the final round of competition.
"Every time I read or reread Shakespeare, I have a miniature revelation: where that idiom came from, how another author was inspired, the origin of some quote I never even realized was a quote. His influence is everywhere in our culture, and so culture itself begins to make more sense reading him. He's just so universal: Hamlet will be relevant for as long as there are fathers and sons; Macbeth, as long as there are husbands and wives; Romeo and Juliet, as long as there are teenagers (and teenagers will always be teenagers)."
wrote Julia about Shakespeare.
|Gabriela Furtado Coutinho
||New York City
|Thien An Nguyen
|Julianna Portillo-Del Valle
|Sydni Rose Rambo
|Maria Guardino Schreiner
- Kelley Curran, actor and former National Shakespeare Competition participant
- Michael LoMonico, Senior Consultant on National Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library
- Alexandra López, Associate Director of Education at Lincoln Center Theater
- Geoffrey Owens, actor
- Sid Ray, Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at Pace University
- Sarah Enloe, Director of Education at the American Shakespeare Center
- Christopher Hodgkins, Professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and member of the ESU Board of Directors
- Dana Ivey, actor
- Louis Scheeder, Director of the Classical Studio at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (and longest running competition judge)
- Graham Turner, actor
William Shakespeare Day Proclamation
Citing its 35th season this year, the Honorable Bill De Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York, proclaimed Monday, April 23, 2018 as "William Shakespeare Day" in New York City. Laura Hickey, the Deputy British Consul General in New York, read the proclamation and Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill CBE KSt.J, Chairman of the English-Speaking Union, the awarded the competitors certificates of achievement.
We gratefully acknowledge our supporters whose generosity made the 2018 National Shakespeare Competition possible.
Anne and Herschel Abbott
The Achelis and Bodman Foundations
Guillermo and Susan Becker
Algaze American International Accreditation Association of Schools
Robert Amott and Janice Flanagan
Henry and Pamela Bell III
Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill CBE, KSt.J
Bishop Moore Catholic High School
Joy Daniels Brower
Molly Rose Clifford
Dr. Loveday Conquest and Fred Kleinschmidt
Christopher J. Cull
Lydia Selby Eitel
ESU Charleston Branch
ESU Dallas Branch
ESU New Orleans Branch
ESU New York Branch
ESU Tucson Branch
Richard H. and Sandra Frank
Sarah B. Goley
Dr. Deloris Grant
Paul D. and Teresa Harrington
Dr. Christopher Hodgkins
Samuel C. O. Holt
Thomas H. Huss
Edward A. Hyde
Marjorie L. Kennedy
Alice S. Kirby
Gloria A. Laverty
Mark Lawhorn and Lynn Haff
The Malkin Fund
Kristi Rose Maloney
Bernard and Patricia McElhone
Patricia Ann Moore
The Mountbatten Institute
Clive Muncaster and Dulcie Bull
Susan M. Nelsen
W.H. and Rose Odell
Dorinda J. Oliver
Malcolm S. Pray, Jr. Foundation, Inc.
Natalie T. Pray
Jeffrey G. Smith
Webster Kathleen Snyder
St. Francis University
Ethan and Barbara Stanley
Curt and Anne Steele
Ben G. Stone
Mary Alice Toomey
Verneice Turner and Douglas May
Priscilla and W. Sloan Upton
Dr. Julia Churchill Van de Water
Susan and Otey Walker
Laura R. White
Maclin D. Whiteman and Caryn Wagner
Robert G. Young
The design and printing of this program was made possible by a generous gift from the ESU Charleston and New Orleans branches and Priscilla and W. Sloan Upton.
We gratefully acknowledge the generous in-kind support from our partners:
The American Shakespeare Center
Brooklyn Academy of Music
ESU New York Branch
Lincoln Center Theater
The Morgan Library & Museum
The Public Theater
Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
Theatre for a New Audience
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
We thank the ESU Branches, members, volunteers, judges, teachers and parents who, in addition to providing financial support, contribute their time, talent and passion to the National Shakespeare Competition.
Return to News & Events