Trevon Wainwright, a senior at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts won First Place in the Regional Finals of the English-Speaking Union's, Shakespeare Competition in Kansas City, Mo. His sponsoring teacher was David Luby, Paseo Theatre Teacher. This was the 33rd anniversary of the Shakespeare Competition for the ESU Kansas City Branch.
Approximately 150 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 19, 2017, at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Kansas City, MO.
Fifteen school winners from the Kansas City area schools participated. Trevon impressed the judges and captivated the audience with his performance of King Henry from Henry V and his recitation of Sonnet 130. He 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 May 1, 2017.
The Second Place winner in the ESU Kansas City Branch finals was Aleksandra Kostic a senior at Olathe South High School, Olathe, Kan. Her sponsoring teacher was Vicki Kohl. The Third Place winner was Erin Viets, a junior at Shawnee Mission South High School. Her sponsoring teacher was Mark Swezey.
Trevon'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.
Trevon 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 57 fellow teenage aficionados of the Bard. Perhaps best of all for Trevon will be the opportunity to spend a weekend with other ESU Branch winners from across the country who share his love of the Bard and his works.
Trevon will be competing for amazing opportunities this summer. The National First Place Winner will receive an all-expenses-paid scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Centre's Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA. The Second Place National winner receives a $1,000 check. The Third Place National winner receives $500.
Daniel Bukovac, ESU Kansas City Branch's Vice President and Shakespeare Competition Coordinator, commented, "We are pleased that our Competition continues to draw students from all sectors of schools in the Kansas City metro area. The enthusiasm from the teachers who sign-up for our Shakespeare Competition each year is very rewarding. The Competition is a valuable teaching tool and gives students the opportunity to develop better communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature."
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 Branch is one of 57 Branches competing in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York City on May 1, 2017.
Grace Goheen, First Place Winner of the 2016 Kansas City Shakespeare Competition, who is now a freshman 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 2017 Competition in Kansas City. Click here to see video.
Click here to see Photo Album from 2017 Kansas City Shakespeare Competition.
The three distinguished judges for the 2017 Kansas City Branch Shakespeare Competition:
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 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 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).
(L to R) Mark Robbins, Actor, Judge; Melinda McCrary, Actor, Teacher, Judge; Erin Viets, Third Place Winner, junior, Shawnee Mission South High School; Trevon Wainwright, senior, Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts; Aleksandra Kostic, senior, Olathe South High School; Sidonie Garrett, Judge, Executive Artistic Director, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival