Battle of the bards – pupils’ act-off in Shakespeare Smash

St. Bede's School, Peterlee winners of a Shakespeare performance competition. Pictured l-r are Anthonie Pevereley, katie-Anne Shaw, Kain Sayers, Lucy Wright and Courtney Ayre with English teacher Lisa Hall.

St. Bede's School, Peterlee winners of a Shakespeare performance competition. Pictured l-r are Anthonie Pevereley, katie-Anne Shaw, Kain Sayers, Lucy Wright and Courtney Ayre with English teacher Lisa Hall.

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A LITERARY competition became a drama in its own right as students pitched their skills against each other in a performance of one of the Bard’s most famous works.

The Shakespeare Smash brought together 10 schools from across Wearside, County Durham and beyond, with 100 Year 8 and 9 students putting themselves to the test in a series of workshops and performances of monologues by the playwright.

The final brought together host school St Bede’s in Peterlee, St Anthony’s in Sunderland, St Robert of Newminster in Washington, and Our Lady in St Bede’s in Stockton.

They were asked to perform a section of Hamlet.

St Bede’s took top prize with its team, which included Kane Sayer, Courteney Ayre, Lucy Wright, Katie Anne Shaw and Anthonie Peverley.

Lisa Hill, an English teacher at St Bede’s in Peterlee, worked alongside Sara Crawshaw, director of the Catholic Partnership and Jude Slater of St Robert’s to put together the challenge.

She said: “The final was everything it should be – dramatic, intense, thrilling and enlightening.

“To watch these young people approach Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquy was awe-inspiring. I am delighted to say that the entire day was an enjoyable experience for both students and staff, who cannot wait for next year’s competition.”