Nearly 3,600 students from over 100 schools compete at 42nd annual Shakespeare Competition

In this 2016 file photo, a casting of William Shakespeare sits outside the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, Cedar City, Utah, July 7, 2016 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Last weekend, the 42nd annual Shakespeare Competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University, gave out dozens of awards and scholarships to drama, dance, technical theater and music students.

The competition is the largest scholastic Shakespeare competition in the country, and this was a record-breaking year with nearly 3,600 students from 123 schools in seven states and the U. S. Virgin Islands.

From Sept. 27-29, students competed before numerous adjudicators on the festival’s stages and at many other venues on the SUU campus. Judges consisted of arts professionals with strong literary and performance backgrounds. The judges came to Cedar City from across the country – including New York, Maryland, Alabama and New York – and not only judged the competition but provided critiques of performances and gave feedback to the young artists.

Judges also offered numerous workshops on topics such as stage combat, improvisation, movement, technical theater, auditioning, ballet, modern dance techniques and choral performance.

“There really is nothing like the Shakespeare Competition,” said Michael Bahr, education director for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. “For over forty years the competition has provided young people an outlet to share their passion and excitement for the arts, while also cultivating the future generation of arts professionals.”

At the conclusion of the competition selected students received trophies and scholarships to study with professionals at Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

As part of the total experience, students were able to attend the festival’s productions of “The Liar,” “Othello,” “The Foreigner” and “An Iliad,” as well as an SUU production of “Richard III.”

The competition was divided into six divisions: Buckingham (large public high schools), Oxford (midsize public high schools), Cambridge (small public high schools), Westminster (charter schools), Stratford (junior high and middle schools) and Essex (schools or groups which are not members of state high school associations).

Students could compete in four different categories: acting, music, technical theater and dance and choreography. For a complete list of winners by category and division, click here.

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