Teen From Union Pines Competes in New York
Captivating audiences with a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Dillon Rice, a student of Judy Osborne at Union Pines High School, placed as a semi-finalist at the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition.
The competition was held Monday, April 27, at Lincoln Center in New York City for 59 winners of branch competitions nationwide. Rice had won the Sandhills/Pinehurst Branch regional competition.
Rice, along with students from Moore and Cumberland counties, competed in the sixth annual regional event Thursday, Feb. 19, at Owens Auditorium, at Sandhills Community College.
This year's winner of the Boston regional competition, Talene Monahon, won first prize in the National Shakespeare Competition, winning a full tuition scholarship to the British American Drama Academy's Midsummer Conservatory Program in Oxford, England.
Second place winner, Addison Hamilton, representing the Atlanta Branch, won $1,000 from the English-Speaking Union. Third place winner, Matthew Amira, representing the New York Branch, won $500 from the Shakespeare Society.
The English-Speaking Union's National Shakespeare Competition is a school-based program to help students develop 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 branch-sponsored community competitions and at the National Shakespeare Competition. Inaugurated in 1983, the program has engaged more than 250,000 young people.
As the winner of a local English-Speaking Union Branch Competition, Rice was awarded the trip to New York City for the final stage of the competition. The E-SU national headquarters provided the finalists with three full days of activities, including a performance of the new Broadway production of "Waiting for Godot," an acting workshop at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and tours of New York City. Perhaps best of all for these teenagers was the opportunity to spend three days with other students from across the country, who share their love of theater and, particularly, Shakespeare.
The seven other finalists were Paul Olivier Bros, from the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., branch;Luke Pizzato, from the Charlotte branch; Natalie Rich, from the Kentucky branch; Logan Sutton, from the Research Triangle branch; Stephen Tonti, from the Dallas, Texas, branch;Faraz Yashar, from the Central Florida branch;and Gianna Yanelli, from the Philadelphia branch.
Among the distinguished judges for this year's competition were actor Gene Wilder; Shakespeare scholar Maurice Charney, Rutgers University Professor of English; directors, Barry Edelstein, of the Public Theater Shakespeare Lab, and Michael Sexton, The Shakespeare Society; Manhattan Theatre Club Casting Director Nancy Piccione; actor Peter Francis James; and Louis Sheeder, director of the Classical Studio, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
The English-Speaking Union of the United States is a nonprofit, non-political educational organization whose mission is to promote scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community. The organization carries out its work through a network of 72 U.S. branches, sponsoring a variety of language and international education programs.
For information on joining, visit www.esuus.org or call (212) 818-1200.
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