We applaud the winners and the runners up of the Inaugural Shakespeare Writing Competition (2015), ‘Othello can be white, Romeo can be a girl'.
The competition was devised by Dr Delia Jarrett-Macaulay, in autumn 2013, as a means to encourage young people, school and college students in particular, to think about the casting of Shakespeare’s plays today. We invited entrants to explore how Shakespeare's plays have been cast, or could be cast on an imaginary stage, film or TV production, and welcomed pieces of creative writing, essay-based formats and even audio-visual presentations. We’ve run workshops on Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and on Julius Caesar, in various locations, held discussions, and mounted exhibitions across the UK. but responding to any Shakespeare play(s) was accepted in this competition. See Delia's piece in the Times Educational Supplement 25 February 2015..
The Multicultural Shakespeare project is working in partnership with some of London’s major theatres, regional houses, and with schools, colleges and local authorities to raise awareness of the different ways in which Shakespeare’s plays are being cast and performed in Britain today. The competition was set up to encourage young people to reflect on this topic, encourage them to think about plays they’ve seen, read or taken part in to support their
- Skills and Knowledge: Literacy, Writing to Persuade, Critical thinking, Research.
- Link with lessons: English, Drama productions, Social Studies, citizenship.
- Thinking ahead to college, drama school, writing courses and English and Theatre studies
The judges were impressed by the original and engaged responses they received from both age categories: 14-18 year olds (Upper Secondary) and 19-25 year olds (College/University).
The Winner's prize, in each category, is two tickets to Shakespeare's Globe, Bankside, London, and £200 cash. Runners-up received certificates.
1. Shirley Ahura (19-25 category)
for "Star-crossed Lovers". Click on the title to read this essay.
Judges' comment: 'The writing is committed, vigorous and strong.' ... 'Shows real creative potential'. ... 'Grabs you with its twists, combining features from several Shakespeare plays'
2. Honey Debney-Succoia(14-18 category)
for "Hamlette". Click on the title to read this essay.
Judges's Comments: 'A bold contemporary re-reading of a key scene in Hamlet.' ... 'Dramatic and original.'
The Runners Up:
1. Malka Wallick (14-18 category)
for "Gender Roles". Click on the title to read this essay.
Judges' Comments: A sophisticated, precise and persuasive review, with stylistic dash.' .... 'A heartfelt response that made me want to see the production."
2. Holly Waterworth (19-25 category)
for "Romeo and Edward". Click on the title to read this essay.
Judge's comments: A thoughtful and original short essay. A passionate piece, showing compassion and honouring Shakespeare’s role in the literary canon.
"Juliet and Romeo" by Lucie Middleton: 'Clever, insightful and imaginative.'
"The Second Hero" by Gabby Keating: 'A creative poetic interpretation of Much Ado about Nothing, with a clever twist.'
"Fighting to be Heard" by Leah Robinson. 'Although brief, the writing is precise and the tone well considered. I enjoyed the eagerness and freshness of style.'
Acknowledgements and thanks:
The Multicultural Shakespeare project is grateful to Shakespeare's Globe, which has sponsored the prize-tickets, Spread the Word, London’s Literature Development Project, which hosted the judges’ meetings and The Times Educational Supplement, which has profiled the competition.The project is also appreciative of the kind support of the judges: Helen Bagnall, Founder and co-director of Salon-London, Laura Kenwright, Audience Development Manager at Spread the Word, London. Helen Finch, Social Research consultant, Jessica Woo, actor and ecological consultant, and David Morley, Professor of Creative Writing and Head of English, University of Warwick.
The competition could not have happened without the teachers who inspired and encouraged their students – many thanks to them all.