Bravo to Ava Goldfarb ’21, Winner of Our 2021 Shakespeare Competition!

Senior Ava Goldfarb gave an exceptional performance as Lady Macbeth sleepwalking and talking in the Scottish royal castle in one of Macbeth's most famous scenes, for which she’s been named winner of Dwight’s 38th National Shakespeare Competition!

For her turn as Lady Macbeth, Ava desperately cried, “Out, damned spot!” from Act V Scene I, while rubbing her hands urgently and unsuccessfully trying to wash away imaginary blood stains — the embodiment of guilt for the role she played in the plot to kill King Duncan and many others. In fact, Ava was not the only competitor to select this very scene to play; this year’s oratory match-up of 11 students included two other Lady Macbeths who went toe-to-toe and head-to-head for the final round of the competition, which premiered online.

Our finalists emerged after hundreds of preliminary performances by students from grades 9-12 who selected their own monologues and dozens of semi-final performances. They worked with both their grade-level English teachers and Kim Guzowski, MYP and DP Theater Teacher, who is especially passionate about reading, performing, and directing the works of the Bard. 

The four judges who had the difficult task of selecting the grade winners, indicated below with an asterisk, and our School champion were Terry Christgau, Eric Dale, Allison Poirot, and Violetta Zambetti.

We congratulate all of our finalists and winners:

Grade 9
Eduarda Kovarsky Rotta*
Santiago Sanchez-Lara Alonso
Guilherme Sequeira
Grade 10

Adam Armstrong
Ava Kimmel*
Mica Quelle
Lily Ventura
Grades 11-12
Carolina Bueno Silva Arap
Leia Immanuel
Bernardo Sequeira*
Ava Goldfarb ’21, School Champion

A Long and Proud Lion Tradition

For all of us at Dwight, the Shakespeare Competition is more than an opportunity for students to share their talent, it is also part of our institutional history. It was launched on campus by Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill MBE, former head of the Anglo-American International School, which joined forces with Dwight in 1993. 

When the English-Speaking Union (ESU) of the United States introduced the Competition countrywide in 1983 as a performance-based education program, 500 high school students participated; more than 360,000 students have since competed across three qualifying levels: school, local community, and national. Today, Dr. Beresford-Hill is Chairman of the English-Speaking Union, and also serves as Ambassador to the United Nations, as Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta.

Each year, our School’s Shakespeare Competition extends Dr. Beresford-Hill’s legacy, and is a highlight for both the English Department, headed by Michael Wiesenfeld, and our community.

All the World’s a Stage ...

As is often the case, our roster of 2021 finalists includes several students who are actively involved in our theater programs both in the classroom and after-school through productions and our Master Theater Program. So it’s no wonder they delivered such compelling monologues, made even more so absent sets, fellow scene players, costumes, props, and accents. 

Our 2020 champion, Bernardo, went on to represent Dwight in — and win — the city-wide round of the Competition. A first for our School, this victory propelled Bernardo to the National finals, where he faced fellow top student-orators in the country!

Relying on sheer skill and talent, Ava, who had been a finalist in previous years, dug deep into her acting toolbox to deliver the winning performance. A veteran of many Dwight Mainstage Theater productions — both plays and musicals — and Scene Nights, Ava’s acting spark of genius has lit up the stage since she joined Dwight as a freshman. 

Last year, she was the only junior in our DP Theater Program. This year, for our Fall Scene Night, in which students bring their theater studies to life, Ava chose the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes as her IB exploration in directing; students in grades 11-12 performed two of the scenes under her direction. As she finishes her Dwight journey, a few more opportunities lie ahead to see Ava in front of and behind the scenes. 

Before then, we wish Ava the best of luck as she advances to the New York City round, where she will add a sonnet to her monologue, for the next stage of this prestigious Competition! 

To see her performance and that of all of our finalists, click here

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