Cape Henlopen High School Theatre senior Hannah Lowe won first place in the Delaware state division of the English Speaking Union's National Shakespeare Competition Jan. 28. Lowe captivated the judges with her powerful performance of Joan de Pucelle's monologue from “Henry VI Part I.”
Martha Pfeiffer, director of the Cape Henlopen Theatre Academy, coached Hannah to prepare for the competition after she won for the school. Adjudicators included retired Broadway and film veteran Bob Bingham, author/poet Nancy Mitchell, and Chris Schimp, actor, director and retired board member of the South Camden Theatre Company.
This was the third time in the past six years that a Cape Theatre student has won first place for the state. The event was held in Cape Henlopen High School's theatre Jan. 28. "I am so glad that we were able to hold it here, in our beautiful theatre," Pfeiffer said. "The state competition is such a prestigious event. We had winners from schools all across the state competing on our stage; I am so happy that we were able to give them a memorable experience."
In addition to hiring three professional judges, Pfeiffer purchased trophies for all competitors and provided refreshments for audience members. "In other competitions, only the top three finalists received a trophy. I wanted everyone to have something to take home with them. They all need to be recognized for having the passion, dedication and courage to compete in a Shakespeare competition; they are all winners," she said.
Pfeiffer added, "I am so proud of Hannah. She is an incredibly talented actress and a very intelligent student. She's just amazing!
"A lot of people from across the state came out to support this event. We had some very talented kids on the stage, and now one of them will go on to compete in New York City in the nationals this spring. Hannah will receive an all-expense-paid trip to both compete and perform at Lincoln Center this April," Pfeiffer said.
The trip also includes exclusive acting workshops, sightseeing activities and spending the weekend with 60 fellow teenage aficionados of The Bard. The winner of the ESU National Shakespeare Competition will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to study acting in England at the world-famous Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Martha Pfeiffer has nothing but praise for the ESU competition. "I was the recipient of this award my first year as the director of the CHHS Theatre Academy, and the experience of studying Shakespeare at the Globe, educated by professional actors, dancers, directors and scholars, was truly life changing." Pfeiffer will use her expertise to coach Hannah over the next few months, preparing her for the nationals. "I have no doubt that she could win this whole thing. I am very excited about what we will be working on in the coming weeks," she said.
The National Competition will be held in New York City April 30.