Wyndham’s Theatre in the heart of London’s West End was the exciting venue for this year’s Performing Shakespeare Final, which saw 30 winners from 11 regional competitions battling for glory. Actors John Pfumojena, Ruth Rosen and Emma Coffey sat on the judging panel.
James (pictured right) of St Thomas More High School, Essex, was declared the winner of the Best Performance Award for his impassioned depiction of Antony’s speech in Julius Caeser; The second Best Performance Award went to Ashton Williams and Sion Thomas of Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe in Swansea, a duologue who played Hamlet and Gravedigger. Pupils from The Perse School, Cambridge, scooped the two other main prizes: Corbin Abbasi won the much-coveted Don Miller Audience Award as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Toby Owers won the Judges’ Commendation Award as Henry V in Henry.
Following the performances Duncan Partridge, ESU Director of Education, who acted as MC, led a lively discussion around the topic ‘Shakespeare as a Tool for Social Change’, with actors Jennifer Rigby and Bathsheba Piepe, also joined by Benet Brandreth QC on the panel. They focussed on subjects such as Shakespeare’s attitude to women and the continued relevance of Shakespeare today. There was broad consensus that Shakespeare’s outstanding attribute was his human empathy as evidenced by the development of the characters in his plays.
The panellists rounded off the discussion by performing their favourite lines of Shakespeare.
Many congratulations to all who took part and warmest thanks to the teachers and branch members who worked so hard to run the competition rounds and prepare the performers.
Our Performing Shakespeare Competition allows all Key Stage 3 and home-schooled pupils in England and Wales, between the ages of 11 and 14 to demonstrate and develop their creativity, their confidence and their ability to express themselves – important skills in the classroom and in the wider world.