Apr 29, 2013 5:14 PM by MELISSA CANONE

Semi-finalist at Shakespeare Competition

Captivating audiences with a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Josiah Price from Lafayette, LA, a student of Daniel LeBoeuf at Early College Academy in Lafayette, placed as a semi-finalist at the 30th season of the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. The competition was held on April 22nd at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City for 58 winners of ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Josiah had previously won the ESU New Orleans Branch regional competition.

This year's winner of the English-Speaking Union New York Branch competition, Xavier Pacheco, 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, Anna Bortnick, representing the Boston Branch, won a scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp. Third place winner, Henry Ayres-Brown, 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 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. Citing its 30th season this year, the Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York, proclaimed April 22 as William Shakespeare Day. Mark Thompson, President & CEO, The New York Times Company, read the proclamation and Danny Lopez, The British Consul-General in New York, awarded certificates to the competitors.

The ESU provided the Branch winners with two full days of educational and cultural activities, including an exclusive acting workshop at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Julius Caesar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. 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: Adjoa Andoh, Royal Shakespeare Company and West End actress who is currently appearing in the role of Portia in the RSC production of Julius Caesar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen, Co-Founder of the American Shakespeare Center, Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance at Mary Baldwin College and author of ShakesFear and How to Cure It: A Handbook for Teaching Shakespeare; Peter Francis James, Obie, Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Award-winning Broadway, West End, film and television actor; Tina Packer, director, actor, playwright and author, currently appearing in her work Women of Will, and founder of Shakespeare & Company, a center for training, education and performance; Annie Parisse, Broadway, television and film actor, currently appearing on Fox's The Following.

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 70 Branches, sponsoring a variety of language and international education programs.



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