According to Shakespeare, "All the world's a stage" - but for seven students from The Armidale School, it was a stage at Sydney's Seymour Centre where they were more than 'merely players', being crowned with success at the NSW & ACT Shakespeare Carnival in Sydney this month.
At the state finals of the creative arts competition on 6 June, Emily Buntine, Jasper O'Neil and Grace Thompson won the Music category with their own composition 'Oh Romeo' inspired by Romeo and Juliet while Felicity Barton, Pierre Morcellet, Oliver Morse, Will Nash and Jasper O'Neil took out third place in the Ensemble category with a piece from Macbeth.
"I based my song off the death scene from Romeo and Juliet as they let each other go and experience the afterlife," Jasper said.
"We also gained so much from workshops on the Saturday as the professionals from the Sport for Jove theatre company which runs the carnival gave us heaps of tips for songwriting and how to improve our piece and our acting skills as well. It was really entertaining and really fun to do."
Drama teacher and TAS Creative Arts Coordinator Mr Andrew O'Connell said the school was proud of the results of the students but also delighted to have again hosted the regional final of the carnival, which is run by the Sport for Jove Theatre Company in Sydney and aims to make Shakespeare relevant and accessible in new ways to students.
"The Shakespeare Carnival was a bit of an institution but died away until Sport for Jove revived it in 2016," Mr O'Connell said.
"It's been awesome that TAS has been able to host the regional final and not only be the leading force to ensure it is an accessible and viable competition for regional students, but also to offer them the opportunity to work with these professional experts in a collaborative way, using the wonderful facilities we have here at the TAS Hoskins Centre."
It was a wonderful opportunity for so many students to work with professional performers in a professional space Mr O'Connell said.
"It also says something that for the past three years the New England was the most successful region represented at the state final," he said.
The students made the most of their trip also taking in two professional productions, Belvoir St Theatre's interpretation of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and The 7 Stages of Grieving by Wesley Enoch, at Sydney Theatre Company.
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