Students Win SUU Scholarships through Shakespeare Competition

Published: October 12, 2015 | Author: Tommy Gugino | Read Time: 2 minutes

The 39th annual Shakespeare Competition, hosted by Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare Festival, gave out 31 scholarships to SUU. The competition is the largest scholastic Shakespeare competition in the country, and this was a record-breaking year with over 3,200 students from 110 schools in six states.

During the event, high school students were encouraged to apply to SUU. According to Wade Arave, SUU admissions advisor, 87 students applied to the university, which was an increase from previous years.  

Michael Bahr, Utah Shakespeare Festival education director, said of the competition, “Since 1977 this event has shaped the cultural landscape of the Intermountain West. Students have been exposed to dance, music and theatre through the universal stories of William Shakespeare. Once a student is touched by his works, they will never be the same.”

Students competed before numerous adjudicators at several venues on SUU’s campus. Judges consisted of arts professionals from across the country with strong literary and performance backgrounds. Students were given feedback on their work and had many opportunities to attend workshops on topics such as stage combat, improvisation, movement, modern dance techniques and choral performance.

Payden Adams, a SUU alumnus and competition judge, first came in contact with the Shakespeare Competition when he was in 9th grade. He preformed a scene from The Comedy of Errors. A few years later he came back and competed in the dance ensemble category and won first place. He chose to attend SUU for musical theatre because of his experience with the competition.

Adams said he never expected to return to the competition as a judge and workshop facilitator. “I remember attending workshops as a student and looking up to the instructors. I was like a little sponge and soaked up everything they would say. It’s intimidating being on the opposite end of things because now I’m considered the expert.”

Providing wonderful opportunities, the competition recognized and educated students in four areas: acting, dance/choreography, music, and technical theatre. At the conclusion of the competition selected students received trophies and scholarships to study with professionals at Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

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