Tuesday, October 20, 2015

First Stage Young Company places first in multi-state Shakespearean acting competition

Nationally acclaimed First Stage Young Company celebrated its second consecutive win in its division of the Utah Shakespearean Festival/Southern Utah University Shakespeare Competition, held October 2-3 in Cedar City, Utah. This is the Young Company’s fifth first place finish in nine years. Students spent the past month preparing and rehearsing for the event with Young Company teachers Matt Daniels and John Maclay.

The Academy students participated alongside more than 3000 young people from over 100 schools from multiple Western states. Their division encompassed all private schools, performing arts schools, non-traditional schools and groups associated with professional theaters. The First Stage students spent the week in Utah taking acting workshops led by professional Shakespearean actors, performing for adjudicators and attending professional performances of Shakespeare’s work.
Young Company students pose with Director John Maclay
Performing at the competition showcase
In addition to winning the Essex division overall sweepstakes award for highest total team score, the team also won first place for its ensemble scene, a compilation of ‘Dream’ moments from a half dozen Shakespeare plays. The ensemble was selected to be performed at the competition’s culminating showcase. Individual students Alison Pogorelc (Whitefish Bay High School) won the Larry Lott award for outstanding performance in an ensemble and first place in monologues, and Taylor Kass (Brookfield Academy) and Henry Lynch (Wauwatosa East High School) won first place duo/trio with their performance of a scene from RICHARD III. 
This is a special group of young artists,” said First Stage Associate Artistic Director and Director of the Young Company John Maclay. “We don't do this work for trophies. But I won't deny that it feels real nice when a legion of professional artists is as enamored with their work as I am. I am incredibly proud to be counted among their teachers.”

Students who competed for First Stage Theater Academy, listed with the school they attend are: Isabelle Abbott (Menomonee Falls High School); Natalie Alteri, Mackenzie Swart and Amber Soik (Brookfield Central High School); Rose Bliesner (Kettle Moraine Lutheran School); Madisyn Fairchild (Mukwonago High School); Mary Elsa Henrichs, Zoey Knox, Alison Pogorelc, and Josie Trettin (Whitefish Bay High School); Taylor Kass (Brookfield Academy); Henry Lynch (Wauwatosa East High School); Madison Penzkover (Homeschool); and Kyra Swanson (University School of Milwaukee).

The Young Company’s annual trip to Utah is funded through the Bard-o-Thon. Students participate in a day-long event performing over 500 consecutive Shakespearean monologues (including all 154 sonnets).


The Young Company celebrates its twelfth season, performing two plays at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. The group will take on one of Shakespeare’s greatest romances ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL December 11 – 20, 2015 with an all-female cast. It is a wild journey filled with comedy, love, bold plans, dirty tricks and brilliantly drawn characters. In spring the Young Company presents Jean Anouilh’s brilliant twentieth century adaptation of the classic Greek play, ANTIGONE April 8-17, 2016. 

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