What's the Big Deal with the Shakespeare Competition?
"There really is nothing like the Shakespeare Competition,” said Michael Bahr, education director for the Festival. “For 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.”
Who sponsors the competition?
It is jointly sponsored by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University.
How many years has it been in operation?
This is the forty-first year of the competition.
What are the dates this year?
September 28-30, 2017.
How many students are participating this year?
Almost 3,400 students from 109 schools in five states will compete.
Are there different divisions or classes for different sized schools?
Yes. The competition is divided into six divisions: Buckingham (for schools with enrollment of 2,001 or more), Oxford (enrollment of 1,701 to 2,000), Cambridge (enrollment of 801 to 1,700), Westminster (enrollment of 800 or fewer), Stratford (junior high and middle schools of any size), and Essex (schools or groups which are not members of state high school associations).
Are there different categories of competition?
Yes. Students can compete in acting (ensembles, duos/trios, and monos), dance (ensembles and duos/trios), music, and technical theatre.
How many trophies do you award?
The competition awards approximately fifty trophies divided among all competition categories and divisions.
Is there more at stake than trophies?
Yes. Besides bragging rights, students can earn one of about twenty-four different scholarships to Southern Utah University or Festival summer classes.
Do the students participate in workshops, or other learning experiences?
Absolutely. The competition includes over thirty different workshops on various subjects. Students also may attend any of the Festival’s current plays—A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), How to Fight Loneliness, and The Tavern—at a discounted price or the Southern Utah University Theatre and Arts Department production of Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Also, this year, Broadway actor Patrick Page is presenting free to student groups his one-man play, All the Devils Are Here, which explores the evil in Shakespeare’s plays.
Who judges the competition?
The judges are theatre professionals from across the country, including Los Angeles and New York City.