Gwyn Wins E-SU Shakespeare Competition
The Sandhills Branch's portion of the English-Speaking Union's National Shakespeare Competition took place on Feb. 21, in the Owens Auditorium at the Sandhills Community College.
Six high school students from Moore, Lee and Cumberland counties presented a monologue and a sonnet from William Shakespeare's works. The winner was William Gwyn, a senior at Union Pines High School, whose presentation of Aaron (a Moor beloved by Tamora) from "Titus Andronicus," Act V, scene 1, was unanimously selected by the distinguished panel of judges. He also recited "Sonnet 79" ("Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid").
In late April, Gwyn will receive an all-expenses paid weekend of theater, workshops and sightseeing in New York City with a chance to compete against 60 other Branch winners from across the nation, again performing his monologue and sonnet, but with an added requirement for a "cold reading" from The Bard. A cold reading is a speech given to the best 10 finalists, just 20 minutes before they are to perform it. First place at that level results in a free trip for a month of study in Oxford, England, at the British American Drama Academy's Midsummer Conservatory Program this summer. Second place in New York City garners a $1,000 prize, and third place is worth $500.
The runner-up was Rebekah Boroughs, a senior at Pinecrest High School. Should Gwyn be unable to go to New York, Boroughs will assume that role. Other competitors were Ragan Madison, a junior at North Moore High School, Deanna Sowers, a junior at Jack Britt High School, Tim Starr, a senior at Southern Lee High School and Josh Wolonick, a senior at The O'Neal School.
The three judges, John Chappell, Joy Karcher and Lisa Bridge gave special comments to each presenter.
Each high school winner had won a first round competition at their respective schools; over 100 students had competed to be one of these six.
This is the fifth year the local Sandhills Branch has sponsored this competition and the number of involved students and schools has grown each year. The involvement of the drama , speech and English teachers at each school has been a significant factor in acquainting our next generation with the most acclaimed writer in the English language.
"Special thanks are due to Judy Osborne (Union Pines HS), Adam Faw and Libby Carter (Pinecrest HS), Clay Gaitskill (North Moore HS), Hillary Bogers (Jack Britt HS), Donna Rogers (Southern Lee HS) and Michael Norman (The O'Neal School)," says a spokesman.
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