The College’s inaugural Malcolm Morrison Award for Classical Verse Speaking took place on 18 June in the Barn Theatre. This award has been created in memory of Professor Malcolm Morrison, an alumnus and former member of staff who sadly passed away at the end of last year. Donations from Malcolm’s family and friends have made this award possible.
13 student entrants performed speeches from across Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories to an assembled audience. The competition was judged by the Principal, Michael Earley and two members of the college’s alumni; Richard Mangan who studied with Malcolm and described him as his “best friend of 53 years”, and Ben Thomas who was taught by Malcolm when he studied here. Richard spoke to the students about Malcolm’s life and work, sharing some moving anecdotes and stories.
The competition was won by Wesley Lineham, level 4 Acting, who performed a speech from Richard II. The judges were unanimous in their praise for his performance which they felt captured the character perfectly and was played with expert subtlety that drew the audience in to the performance. They fed back that they thought Wesley really understood the words he was speaking, and the power of those words, allowing the verse to shine through rather than trying to force the verse into his performance.
The judges also commented on the high standard of all the participants, suggesting that, as the majority of entrants were in their first year, should they return again for next year’s competition after another year of study, the standard will be phenomenal.
Wesley said; “The competition (though a competition) was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who was involved, audience and performers alike. 'Fun' was a word used by every competitor on the day and indeed it was. Certainly, despite the sun shining outside no one wanted to miss an opportunity to perform the great works of Shakespeare for such an honourable cause. Winning the award meant an awful lot and I hope Malcolm would have been proud.”
Ben Thomas said; “The level of commitment, courage and creativity from the students made the event a worthy reflection of Malcolm's unique approach to theatre.”
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.