14 Kansas City Area High Schools Compete in Annual ESU Shakespeare Competition

The English-Speaking Union, Kansas City Branch, hosts the 29th annual Shakespeare Competition for area high schools--14 students compete for First Place
ESU Shakespeare Competition Kansas City, Mo. Feb. 17, 2013
ESU Shakespeare Competition Kansas City, Mo. Feb. 17, 2013
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Feb. 10, 2013 - PRLog -- Kansas City, MO—The Kansas City Branch of the English-Speaking Union will hold its 29th annual Shakespeare Competition on Sunday, February 17, 2013, at 6:00 PM at the Plaza Branch of the K.C. Public Library, 4801 Main St., Kansas City, MO.  About 125 students participated in preliminary competitions at 13 area high schools as well as a competition for homeschool students sponsored by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.  These fourteen students will be competing for First Place in this annual event which is designed to develop students’ speaking and critical thinking skills and their appreciation of literature as they explore the beauty of the language and the timeless themes in Shakespeare’s works.  

The Competition is open to students in grades 9 through 12.  Each student selects, memorizes, and presents a Shakespeare monologue and sonnet.  All monologues are limited to 20 lines of verse or prose.  By preparing a monologue and sonnet for public presentation, students bring Shakespeare to life in their own way and learn to express his works with understanding, clarity and feeling. The winner from each participating school competes at the ESU Branch level held on February 17, 2013.

The First Place winner of the ESU Kansas City Branch Competition receives $150 from the ESU KC Branch, a full scholarship to the Shakespeare Exploration, a camp offered by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, an all-expense-paid round-trip to New York City to compete in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition on April 22, 2013, at Lincoln Center as well as other group activities in New York City.  

The winner of the ESU National Shakespeare Competition receives a full tuition scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts' Young Actors Summer School in London (includes tuition, accommodation, food expenses and travel to and from London).  The second place winner receives an all-expenses-paid scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Centre's Theater Camp in Staunton, VA.  The third place winner receives $500 from The Shakespeare Society.  

Two previous Kansas City winners have won First Place in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York and one Kansas City winner won Second Place in the National Competition.  The ESU Kansas City Branch is one of 56 Branches competing in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York on April 22, 2013.

The following Kansas City area schools and students will be participating in the local ESU KC Branch Competition:

Bishop Ward High School
Blue Springs South High School
Center High School
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival Homeschool Student Competition
Olathe Northwest High School
Olathe South High School
Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts
Pembroke Hill School
Piper High School
Saint Teresa’s Academy
Shawnee Mission North High School
Shawnee Mission Northwest High School
Spring Hill High School
Summit Christian Academy

Daniel Bukovac, ESU Kansas City Branch’s Vice President of the Shakespeare Competition, selected three highly qualified judges for the local Shakespeare Competition.  All three are well-known and respected in Kansas City’s performing arts community.  Bukovac noted, “Our distinguished judges are all experts in their specialized fields—acting, directing and teaching—and they have a strong passion for Shakespeare’s works.”  The Kansas City Competition judges:

Thomas Canfield—

Thomas Canfield has a Ph.D. in English, with a specialization in Elizabethan drama, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Currently, he is pursuing a second master’s degree in Theatre at UMKC, where he has been the dramaturg for productions of The Country Wife, Great Expectations, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  In six seasons as Dramaturg in Residence for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, he has contributed to summer productions of Romeo and Juliet, Othello, The Merry Wives of Windsor, King Richard III, and Macbeth. He recently finished working in the same capacity on two productions for the 20th Anniversary Season in 2012: Antony and Cleopatra and A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Last June, he presented a lecture on artistic representations of A Midsummer Night's Dream in graphic and performance art at the Kansas City Public Library. Currently, Dr. Canfield is writing a history of the first Equity playhouse in Kansas City, the Circle theatre, which was located in Union Station from 1962-67.  Dr. Canfield teaches Shakespeare and Foundations of Theatre at UMKC, and is a professor of English and Humanities at National American University.    

Sidonie Garrett—

Sidonie is the Executive Artistic Director of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Prior to joining the Festival, she worked as a freelance director. Her experience working with new plays took her to New York City, where she directed the off-off-Broadway production of Thanatos. For the Shakespeare Festival she has directed The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, King Richard III, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This summer Sidonie will direct As You Like It, June 18 – July 7, 2013, in Southmoreland Park.  Sidonie has also directed productions at The Coterie Theatre (including The Macbeth Project and the U.S. premiere of After Juliet), the American Heartland Theatre and The Unicorn Theatre.  She directed holiday programs with the Kansas City Symphony, Falstaff and The Marriage of Figaro for Civic Opera Theatre and has directed productions at UMKC, KCKCC and Avila University.  Sidonie directed an original presentation,  Play On! A Collaboration of Music and Words with the Bach Aria Soloists last fall.

Carla Noack—

Carla has been a professional actor for nearly 25 years, and currently teaches in the UMKC Professional Actor Training (M.F.A.) Program, where she recently directed King Lear, Cymbeline, The Tempest, Pericles and Miss Julie.  For ten years she was a core artist of the Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro, MN, where favorite roles included Josie in A Moon for the Misbegotten, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, and Lena Szczepanowska in Misalliance. She was also a 5-year company member of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, playing Rosalind in As You Like It, Katherine in Taming of the Shrew and the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. Most recently, she played Lily Forrestal in Theatre Latte Da’s Song of Extinction at the Guthrie Theatre, Sarah Goodwin in the Unicorn Theatre’s Time Stands Still, and Queen Elizabeth in the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s King Richard III. Other regional credits include Ten Thousand Things, Coterie Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Kansas City Actors Theatre, with whom she is a member of the artistic board.

The English-Speaking Union of the United States is a non-profit, non-political, educational organization whose mission is to celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, teachers and its members.  Headquartered in New York City, the ESU implements programs through a network of 70 Branches across the United States.  ESU members nationwide participate in cultural and social events and provide financial support to sustain our educational programs at the Branch and National levels.  Members attend Branch events, host visiting speakers and scholars in their communities, volunteer to coordinate Branch participation in our National Shakespeare Competition and scholarship and exchange programs and serve as English in Action tutors.  For more information about the ESU Kansas City Branch, go to www.esuus.org/kansascity
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