April 30: Maria Schreiner, Hawken Upper School, was honored today as the Winner of the 2019 Shakespeare Competition of the English-Speaking Union of the United States.
"I couldn't be happier," said Bill Kennedy, President of ESU's Cleveland Branch. "She has so much talent and determination and now the New York judges have recognized her talent just as we had."
To qualify, Maria won the Competition within Hawken in January and then won the Northern Ohio Competition run by the Cleveland Branch of ESU in partnership with Great Lakes Theater.
There's more to the story. Two years ago Maria "met Shakespeare" when she took a leading role in the school play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
Last year Maria won in Hawken and in the Northern Ohio Regional, sending her to the National Competition. She was a high school junior and she gave the big stage in New York her best effort. Coming close to winning, she only wanted it more.
During the summer of 2018 you may have seen her playing Romeo in "Romeo & Juliet" produced by the All-City Shakespeare Festival, organized by ESU and Great Lakes Theater. She was well coached by professionals from Great Lakes.
This year Maria won the National Competition, facing down some 50 competitors, the best from across the country. Maria's teacher, Julia Griffin, a Harvard alumna, has been a vigorous participant in the Shakespeare Competition of the English-Speaking Union. In 2013 another of her students, Aric Floyd, went to the National Competition.
Maria was interviewed on the Sound of Ideas, Public Radio WCPN.
Maria worked for three years for that winning moment on the national stage at Lincoln Center in NY. "A dream come true!" she smiled.
"What did you win?" asked Mike McIntyre, radio host. "I won a summer scholarship to study Shakespearean acting at the British-American Drama Academy in Oxford, England," said Maria. Dovetailing with that will be an internship with Great Lakes Theater and also a week with actors in "Othello" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. And then off to study acting at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY.
As Romeo fighting for his life in a cemetery at midnight, Maria rose to this new challenge at ESU's All-City Shakespeare Festival.
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