(l-r) Eric Cheatham, Cece Bernard and Nina Alabanza
Appomattox Christian Academy student Eric Cheatham won first place at the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition Lexington Branch contest on January 25, 2020. Cheatham, a student of teacher April Bilton, performed King Richard's monologue from Richard II, Act III, scene ii, as well as Sonnet 81. He will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City along with more than 50 other contestants from around the country to participate in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York on April 27, 2020.
Nina Alabanza from Harrisonburg High School earned second place, performing Shylock's monologue from The Merchant of Venice, Act III, scene i, and Sonnet 23. Third place winner Cece Bernard from Staunton High School played the part of King Richard from Richard II, Act IV, scene i, and recited Sonnet 136. All the winners were awarded partial scholarships to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp.
Competitors were judged on their understanding of their selected texts and on their ability to communicate that understanding to the audience. Judges for the Branch Competition were Miriam Donald Burrows, Brandon Carter and Zoe Speas, all members or former members of the American Shakespeare Center Resident Company. The competition was coordinated by ESU Lexington members Suzanne Rice, Lisa Tracy and Dee Joyce-Hayes.
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