Jamaica holds Shakespeare competition
Jamaican students recently had the chance to perform Shakespeare’s works melded with their local culture. More than one hundred and fifty students, a large percentage of which were teenage boys, from fourteen schools participated in the national JN Shakespeare Schools’ Championship. The winning cast will go on to compete in London in March 2016.
The Jamaica National Building Society sponsored the competition which allows young performers to add elements of Jamaican life and culture to Shakespeare’s plays. Dr. Tony Sewell began the contest this year in an effort to bolster the “transformative effect of drama in education” across the nation.
It is up to the teachers and mentors of the schools to set the play in Jamaica while keeping the Shakespearean language. They are, however, allowed to utilise the musicality, rhythm and accent of their native Jamaica.
– Dr. Tony Sewell, Jamaica Observer
Local theater professionals served as mentors and judges for the thirty-minute adaptation performances. Each work remains faithful to Shakespeare’s text but re-imagines the scene in a Jamaican context.
You can view a video about the competition’s goals below: