06 February 2018
English Speaking Union, Shakespeare Monologue Competition
Shakespeare often strikes fear into the hearts of students and young people. It’s often considered ‘boring’, ‘impossible to understand’ and ‘so not relatable’. So I was thrilled when, back in December, nine budding Shakespeare enthusiasts from Sevenoaks’ Lower and Middle School signed up to take part in the English Speaking Union’s annual Shakespeare Monologue Competition.
The rules were simple. Find a monologue from any Shakespeare play, rehearse it, film it with a short introduction and submit it online. After the Christmas break, we received word that all nine of our pupils had been invited to attend the competition’s regional finals at Dartmouth House in Mayfair, London.
Our journey to London was filled with excitement; partly to attend the finals and partly to walk down the Mall to ‘visit the Queen’. On our arrival at Dartmouth House, we were greeted by Emma Coffey, the organiser of the competition, who then led our students and the finalists from other selected schools through a very informative drama workshop focussed specifically on preparing a monologue.
Then it was on to the competition itself. One at a time, each pupil performed their monologue to the rest of the group. With the wide variety of talent and speeches, it was such a joyous occasion to see so many young people enjoying performing the words of the Bard. All our students made a great impression on the panel, with one of them walking away with a Prize of Special Commendation for their monologue.
Our pupils received such a warm welcome from our hosts, many words of wisdom from the judging panel to help them improve their drama skills, made some new friends along the way, and ate a few more biscuits than I would have thought possible.
This day truly was the stuff that dreams are made on…
Mr Karl Niklas, Teacher of Drama