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28th June 2024

Drama Scholar Wins National Shakespeare Prize

Form 3 Drama Scholar Charlie has been crowned the winner of the prestigious English Speaking Union Performing Shakespeare Competition 2024, beating almost 2,000 pupils from schools across England and Wales.

Charlie travelled to London to compete in the grand final, which was held in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe. His powerful rendition of Hamlet’s soliloquy from Act 1, scene 2 of Shakespeare’s most famous play secured him the top prize.

Each of the finalists introduced their chosen piece with a short speech explaining the reasons for their choice. In his explanation, Charlie spoke of his interest in how Hamlet copes with grief and struggles with his mental health. Charlie also talked about how the language Shakespeare uses to express these emotions resonates today with the current issue of men’s mental health.

Teacher of Acting LAMDA David Norell, who helped Charlie to choose and prepare his pieces, said: “Hamlet bares his soul in this soliloquy, and to connect honestly with the audience, Charlie needed to express an emotional intensity and integrity of his own. I am delighted to see this reflected in the feedback from the judges.”

In their feedback the judges had this praise for Charlie: “This was an outstanding performance that all judges marked highly against the competition’s criteria.

“The interpretation suggested emotional intelligence, subtlety, and confidence. The well-paced delivery of lines with varied stagecraft meant that the audience was drawn in and followed every word!

“This was our winner because of the way that the performer captivated the audience, showing proficiency in speech and movement, and combining vocal control with a sensitive understanding of the material that was used.”

Read more about how Oakham School’s Drama Department inspire in pupils a love of theatre and performance.

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