The Malcolm Morrison Award for Classical Verse Speaking 2015 took place on 24 June in the College’s Rose Theatre. This award has been created in memory of Professor Malcolm Morrison, an alumnus and former member of staff who sadly passed away in 2013. Donations from Malcolm’s family and friends have made this award possible.

19 student entrants performed speeches from across Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories to an assembled audience. The competition was judged by Richard Mangan who studied with Malcolm at Rose Bruford College, describing him as his “best friend of 53 years”, and Ben Thomas who was taught by Malcolm when he studied here. They were joined by Sally Grace, who was Head of Voice at the College and a subsequent career as a voice coach in film, television and theatre.

Malcolm’s family sent a short statement to be read to the competing students, inspiring the competitors with stories of Malcolm’s first attempts at speaking verse.

The competition was won by Matthew Tweddle, level 5 BA (Hons) Acting, who performed a speech as Shylock from The Merchant of Venice. The judges were unanimous in their praise for his performance which they felt captured the character perfectly.

Matthew was joined by Emma Drinkwater-James (level 6, Acting) and Ella Dunlop (level 4 Acting) who were the two runners up. Emma performed a speech as Cordelia from King Lear while Ella performed as Helena from All’s Well that Ends Well. The judges complemented all the competitors on the high standard of speeches and gave feedback to the group.

Matthew said that, “I took part because I genuinely love speaking Shakespeare, and after working on my speech for such a long time I couldn't pass up the opportunity to bring Shylock’s words to life again! After seeing the other competitors and winning the award I feel very lucky to have been chosen, there was some strong competition! I also feel honoured to have received this award, as Malcolm's own book 'Clear Speech' has been my main guide as I try to control my lisp, so even today some credit has to go to Malcolm himself! Thank you.”

Emma said, “From what I know about Malcolm, his contribution to the school and its alumni has been profoundly important. This brings me great pride to know that I am part of the next generation of actors who through this award are supported by his love for theatre. I had a wonderful time performing a speech from King Lear as Cordelia. She is one of my dream roles and one I would love to play in the future. Having the chance to share this beautiful language was a special moment.”

Richard Mangan said; “Malcolm would have been delighted to know that his name is remembered at his alma mater and to know that his love of verse and especially of Shakespeare can still inspire young actors to celebrate both in such an enjoyable afternoon.”

If you would like to make a contribution to the Malcolm Morrison Award fund for future years please make a donation through our online store here.