BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Captivating audiences with a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Eliana Meyerowitz from Boca Raton, Florida, a student of Mindy Clarke at Boca Raton Community High School in Boca Raton, placed as one of 10 finalists at the 31st annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. The Competition was held on May 5th at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City for 58 winners of ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Eliana had previously won the ESU Palm Beach Branch regional competition.
This year’s winner of the English-Speaking Union Indianapolis Branch competition,Scott Van Wye, won first prize in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition, winning a full Scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art’s Young Actors Summer School in London, England. Second place winner, Chloe Bell, representing the Kentucky Branch, won a scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp. Third place winner, Ashish Ramachandran, representing the Greenwich Branch of the ESU, won $500 from The Shakespeare Society.
The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition is a school-based program designed to help students develop their speaking and critical thinking skills and their appreciation of literature as they explore the beauty of the language and timeless themes in Shakespeare’s works. In three progressive competition levels, students memorize, interpret, and perform monologues and sonnets in their own schools, at ESU Branch-sponsored community competitions and at the National Shakespeare Competition. The program has engaged more than 250,000 young people since its inception. Citing its 31st season this year, the Honorable Bill De Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York, proclaimed May 5th as William Shakespeare Day. Danny Lopez, the British Consul-General in New York, read the proclamation, and Josiah Bunting III, Chairman of the English-Speaking Union, awarded certificates to the competitors.
The ESU provided the Branch winners with two full days of educational and cultural activities in New York City, including an exclusive acting workshop at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and a performance of the Realistic Joneses on Broadway. Perhaps best of all for these teenagers was the opportunity to spend a weekend in New York City with other students from across the country who share a love of theater, language and, particularly, Shakespeare.
The finals competition judges were distinguished actors and educators. Matt Harrington, a Broadway, television and film actor currently playing the role of Mr. Wormwood in Matilda the Musical on Broadway, was the first-place winner of the 1999 ESU National Shakespeare Competition. He received both his BFA and MFA from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Peter Francis James, graduate and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, teaches at Yale School of Drama as well as the British American Drama Academy at Oxford.
He was nominated for a Lortel award for his performance in Edward Albee’s The Lady From Dubuque at the Signature Theater. Dr. Peggy O’Brien, Director of Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library has taught policy, theory, and practice in American K-12 education at Georgetown University and continues to consult on major national education programs. Louis Scheeder, Arts Professor and founder and Director of the Classical Studio, an advanced training program at the Tisch School of the Arts, also serves as Associate Dean of Faculty at the school. He was most recently awarded NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
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, educators and members. The ESU carries out its work through a network of 68 Branches, sponsoring a variety of language and international education programs.