News And Events

Lincoln College Prep Student Wins First Place in ESU Kansas City’s 34th Annual Shakespeare Competition

Lucy Mulholland, from Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Mo., won First Place in the Regional Finals of the English-Speaking Union's, Shakespeare Competition in Kansas City, Mo. Her sponsoring teacher was Auriel Keim. This was the 34rd anniversary of the Shakespeare Competition for the ESU Kansas City Branch.

Approximately 125 students participated in preliminary competitions in Kansas City area high schools as well as a competition for homeschool students sponsored by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. The ESU Kansas City Branch Competition was held on February 25, 2018, at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Kansas City, MO. 

Twelve school winners from the Kansas City area schools participated. Lucy impressed the judges and captivated the audience with her performance of Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing and her recitation of Sonnet 74. She will go on to represent ESU's Kansas Branch as a semi-finalist at the National Shakespeare Competition held at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 23, 2018 (April 23 is Shakespeare's birthday!)

The Second Place winner in the ESU Kansas City Branch finals was Hieu Bui from Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Mo.  His sponsoring teacher was Shannon Peery. The Third Place winner was Catherine Simmons, from Blue Valley High School. Her sponsoring teacher was Maureen Davis.

Lucy's First Place prize package from the ESU Kansas City Branch included a check for $150, a full scholarship to the Shakespeare Exploration Camp offered by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, a Certificate of Appreciation and an engraved First Place Medallion.

Lucy will be awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for the final stage of the Competition. The trip also includes an exclusive acting workshop, sightseeing activities and spending the weekend with 54 fellow teenage aficionados of the Bard. Perhaps best of all for Lucy will be the opportunity to spend a weekend with other ESU Branch winners from across the country who share her love of the Bard and his works.

Lucy will be competing for amazing opportunities this summer. The National First Place Winner will receive an all-expenses-paid scholarship to attend the Young Actors' Summer School for two weeks at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. The Second Place National winner will attend the American Shakespeare Centre's Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA. The Third Place National winner receives $500.

Deborah McArdle, ESU Kansas City Branch's Vice President and Shakespeare Competition Coordinator, commented, "The ESU Kansas City Branch is proud to have provided this competition for 34 years now. Each year, we see the students display an unbelievable understanding of the works of William Shakespeare, one of the world's greatest geniuses. In unique ways, the contestants bring Shakespeare's words to life by voice, movement and overall interpretation. Additionally, we thank our committed teachers who give so generously of time and talent."

Two previous Kansas City winners have won First Place in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York. In 1992, David Roche, also a student at Blue Valley High School, won National First Place. In 1994, Dannye Thompson, a student at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, won National First Place. One past Kansas City winner won Second Place in the National Competition. The ESU Kansas City First Place winner in 2017, Trevon Wainwright from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, went on to compete in the ESU National Finals and won Third Place in the National Finals.

The ESU Kansas City Branch is one of 54 Branches competing in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York City on April 23, 2018.

Grace Goheen, First Place Winner of the 2016 Kansas City Shakespeare Competition, who is an undergraduate at Stanford University, prepared a video describing her experiences in New York City at the National Semi-Finals at Lincoln Center. The video was shown to the audience at the 2018 Competition in Kansas City. Click here to see video.

Click here to see slide show video from the 2018 Shakespeare Competition.

The three distinguished judges for the 2017 Kansas City Branch Shakespeare Competition:

Sidonie Garrett—

Sidonie Garrett is the Executive Artistic Director of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival where she directed plays including The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet (awarded Best Play by Pitch Magazine), Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, King Henry V, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, The Merry Wives of Windsor, King Richard III, and Macbeth. Her experience working with new plays took her to New York City, where she directed the off-off-Broadway production of Thanatos. Sidonie also assistant directed the off-Broadway premiere of the interactive Aunt Chooch's Birthday Party. Locally she has directed several shows at the Unicorn Theatre, the Kansas City Actors Theatre, and The Coterie Theatre. Next up, she will direct Hamlet for HASF's 25th anniversary season, June 13 – July 2, 2017 in Southmoreland Park.

Melinda McCrary—

Melinda McCrary is a member of Actors' Equity Association with a several decade-long history of both performing and teaching Shakespeare. She has over 20 Shakespeare productions under her corset, including four roles with the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival--Ariel in the inaugural production of The Tempest, Hermia/ A Midsummer Night's Dream, Calpurnia/ Julius Caesar and Beatrice/ Much Ado About Nothing. Melinda has performed with Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Boston Shakespeare Company, St. Louis Rep, The Coterie, New Theatre, American Heartland Theatre, The Unicorn, and Arizona Theatre Company and contributed as actor, director and board member with Kansas City Actors Theatre. Melinda is currently the Director of Education and Community Programs at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. She served as Education Director for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival for four years and as adjunct faculty teaching Foundations of Theatre Arts for the University of Missouri at Kansas City for 10 years.

Mark Robbins—

Mark Robbins is a member of Actors' Equity Association and has more than 170 professional roles to his credit in theaters in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, Tucson, St. Louis, and Kansas City. He has performed the title roles in Macbeth, Oedipus Rex and Richard III and has worked as a leading actor for every major professional theatre in Kansas City, most recently at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre (in A Christmas Carol, Angels in America, and Sticky Traps) and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival (in King Lear). He is also an experienced director, having directed for the Unicorn Theatre (where he received a Best of Kansas City award for Best Director), the American Heartland Theatre and UMKC's Graduate Training Program. He is a founding member of the Kansas City Actors Theatre and directed and appeared in its production of Hamlet (Summer 2014).

2018 Shakespeare Competition, ESU Kansas City Branch, (L to R) Deborah McArdle, Vice President and Shakespeare Competition Coordinator; Catherine Simmons, Third Place, Blue Valley High School, Lucy Mulholland, First Place, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy; Hieu Bui, Second Place, Oak Park High School; Jeff Schnabel,
Past President, ESU Kansas City Branch.


Return to News & Events