Students Receive Honors at 37th Annual Shakespeare Competition
Last weekend the 37th annual Shakespeare Competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University, gave out dozens of awards and scholarships to drama, dance and music students. The competition is the largest scholastic Shakespeare competition in the country, and this was a record-breaking year with over 3,000 students from 118 schools. Students came from junior high and high schools in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, and California.
From October 3 through 5 students competed before numerous adjudicators on the Festival's stages and at several other venues on the SUU campus. Judges consisted of arts professionals with strong literary and performance backgrounds. The judges came to Cedar City from across the country, including New York and Los Angeles, and not only judged the competition, but provided critiques of performances and gave feedback to the young artists. Judges also offered numerous workshops on topics such as stage combat, improvisation, movement, modern dance techniques, and choral performance.
"There really is nothing like the Shakespeare Competition," said Michael Bahr, education director for the Festival. "For thirty-seven years the competition has provided young people an outlet to share their passion and excitement for the arts, while also cultivating the future generation of arts professionals."
Providing wonderful opportunities, the competition recognizes and educates students in four areas: acting, dance/choreography, music, and technical theatre. At the conclusion of the competition selected students received trophies and scholarships to study with professionals at Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
As part of the total experience, students were able to attend the Festival's fall productions of Peter and the Starcatcher, The Marvelous Wonderettes and Richard II for a special school price.
The competition was divided into six divisions: Buckingham (for schools with enrollment of 2,001 or more), Oxford (enrollment of 1,701 to 2,000), Cambridge (enrollment of 801 to 1,700), Westminster (enrollment of 800 or fewer), Stratford (junior high and middle schools of any size) and Essex (schools or groups which are not members of state high school associations).
For the acting portion of the competition, students were able to compete in mono-acts, duo/trio scenes and ensembles. Mono-act competitors presented for the judges a two- to four-minute monologue from a Shakespeare play or sonnet. In the duo/trio competition, two or three actors presented a three- to five-minute scene from a Shakespeare play or sonnet. In the ensemble competition, a group of students from a school presented a six- to ten-minute Shakespearean scene.
In addition, first, second and third place overall sweepstake prizes were awarded to the school in each division with the most total points from all categories.
Also, several scholarships were presented in the acting competition:
The first place winners in the duo/trio and monologue category are awarded scholarships to either Southern Utah University or the Utah Shakespeare Festival summer classes, depending on the grade of the student.
Ray Jones Award: Given to seniors, this award is a $1000 scholarship to Southern Utah University.
Barbara Barrett Award: Given to juniors and under, this award is a $500 scholarship to the Festival's summer acting intensive Actor Training, or a tuition scholarship to Shakespeare for Junior Actors.
Larry Lott Acting Award: In conjunction with the ensemble competition, judges annually recognize the best actor in an ensemble scene in each division. The recipient of this award received a trophy for his or her accomplishments and, if a senior, a $1,000 scholarship to SUU.
Sweepstakes First Place: Alta High School; Sandy, Utah
Sweepstakes Second Place (tie): Pleasant Grove High School; Pleasant Grove, Utah
Sweepstakes Second Place (tie): Hillcrest High School; Salt Lake City, Utah
Sweepstakes Second Place (tie): Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts; Ivins, Utah
Ensemble First Place: Hillcrest High School; Salt Lake City, Utah