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Issue 1

September 27th, 2019

Tyson advances in Shakespeare competition

TUES. | 4-4-23 | NEWS

News Staff Writer CASEY FOELLER

     Freshman Gracie Tyson competed at the Colonial Branch English Speaking Union (ESU) National Shakespeare Competition on Saturday, Feb. 25 in New Bern, NC. She placed first and will advance to compete in New York City for the national competition.

     The ESU Shakespeare Competition is a national organization that highlights high school talent across the country. The winner of the national competition will have the opportunity to study theater at the British Drama Academy Midsummer Conservatory Program. The runner-up will study at the American Shakespeare Theater Camp. The second runner-up will be provided with a cash price of $1,000.

     The competition has been virtual for the past three years due to COVID-19. Tyson has been the most recent winner from Rose, with the previous regional winner being Preston Bradsher in 2014.

     Tyson was required to read, analyze, perform and recite a Shakespearean sonnet and monologue for a panel of judges.



Photo by Averi Simpson

     “They gave us a list of monologues and a list of sonnets and we had to pick one,” Tyson said. “There were 300 monologues and 150 sonnets.”

     Tyson was mentored by Rose teacher Kristine Boccia who critiqued and improved her performance. Boccia also attended the competition to represent Tyson.

     “She’s very talented; I don’t know that she needed much [assistance in preparing for the competition],” Boccia said.

     Tyson has already competed at two of the three progressive levels: school and branch. After branch, where she competed against three others, she will compete nationally.

     “You have to win your school first, then move branch,” Tyson said. “I won branch, so I’m going to New York.”

     Tyson will continue to rehearse for her national competition in New York. She will do this with Boccia as well as with new assistance.

     “The president of the branch I was a part of and one of the judges both reached out to me and said they want to schedule some lessons for me to go up to New Bern and rehearse,” Tyson said.

     Tyson feels that this opportunity also has its setbacks. Tyson had to forfeit her lead role in Rose theater’s production of “Into the Woods” and could not attend her chorus concert. However, Tyson believes missing out on these events is worth it.

     “By sacrificing a lot of stuff for [theater], it’s showing me this is the only thing that I would sacrifice it for,” Tyson said.

     Overall, Tyson believes this experience will advance her theater career and open up more opportunities.

     “I am super blessed and honored and thankful for [this opportunity],” Tyson said.

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