13 July 2021
The three girls, all from Year 10, performed over Zoom for a panel of judges comprising the most eminent academics, directors and actors in Shakespearean theatre. Members of the Girls’ Division community followed this closely fought competition as it was broadcast live over YouTube.
The judging panel heartily congratulated all of the competitors. Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Education at the Royal Shakespeare Company, commended Charlie Lowe for her sensitive and joyful portrayal of Helena from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespearean Studies at the University of Oxford, also commended Lola Rigby for her standout performance. Finally, Safa Karim won the sole runner up award for her highly nuanced characterisation of Phebe from ‘As You Like It’.
The Bolton School Girls’ Division Drama Department celebrated these performances by presenting each competitor with roses and a badge. The English Speaking Union will award each competitor with a certificate and Safa will receive the runners-up trophy.
Miss Sarah Talbot, Director of Theatre Studies, Speech and Drama in the Girls’ Division, is grateful to the English Speaking Union (ESU) for providing her students with this opportunity; ‘This competition provides a significant level of challenge. Competitors must speak for two minutes; introducing the material, which they have chosen, before slipping in to role to perform a three minute extract from Shakespeare’s canon. In the first instance, they are judged on their ability to engage an audience using public speaking skills and, later, in the capacity of actor.
‘In this tenth year of the Performing Shakespeare competition, the ESU harnessed modern technologies to enable competitors to share work with an audience, which spanned the length and breadth of the country, despite Covid restrictions. Our finalists were thrilled to perform before a panel of such eminent judges. Indeed the Grand Final proved a fitting tribute to the competitors’ dedication and passion for Shakespeare in performance.’