Shakespeare Globe Centre Australia Youth Festival, ACT Final.Murranji Theatre, Hawker College, Friday August 20. ACT and North Side Coordinator, Stephen Brown (Hawker College); South Side Coordinator, Helen Parker (CCEGGS).
The goodwill of an estimated 50-60 teachers who voluntarily support this Festival representing government and non-government secondary schools has once again produced an excellent standard in the ACT finals. This year students from all the finalists - Telopea Park School, Marist College, St Clare's College, and Merici College - received commendations from judges Maureen Bettle (University of Canberra), Tina van Raay (Chief Minister's Office - Community Liaison) and myself - for the high quality of their work.
Awards went to Telopea Park for music composed for Much Ado About Nothing and duologues from Henry V; and to St Clare's College for costume designs for Macbeth. Commended scene and duologue presentations from Marist, Merici and St Clare's from As You Like It and Twelfth Night kept the audience laughing as they have for 400 years, while St Clare's movement/dance group showed us the Macbeth story from the witches' perspective as they take control of human ambitions and as a struggle between elemental positives and negatives after Macbeth's death.
Four special personal awards are given, not necessarily chosen only from award winning presentations but rather for individuals who the judges believe are ready for a taste of professional training. These young people, in company with those selected in the other states, go on to attend a week of intensive work with theatre professionals, here in Canberra, leading to two performances on October 1 and 2 at Theatre 3. One of these performers will be selected as Young Shakespearean Artist of the Year, and will visit and study at Stratford-upon-Avon and The Globe Theatre in London.
Composer Tessa Keenan, designer Sarah la Brooy, and actors Caroline Pryor and Leah Kimball were the chosen four, though the judges had a difficult task distinguishing among the best 6 or 7.
Difficulties with administering the Festival and maintaining corporate sponsorships will not make the Shakespeare Globe Centre's task any easier in the future, but standards are rising if this year's performances are any guide.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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