Canning Shakespeare competition announces winners during weekend performance

Ben Elton with competition winners Laura Kendell, Joel Gal and Lexi Sleet.
Ben Elton with competition winners Laura Kendell, Joel Gal and Lexi Sleet.

AUTHOR, actor and playwright Ben Elton was among the judges when 10 high school students performed their favourite two minute monologues from “the greatest body of work” in the English language at Mandurah’s Fish Trap Theatre on Saturday.

The Canning Shakespeare competition was the brainchild of Canning MHR Andrew Hastie, a frustrated thespian who wanted to play Hamlet joked Mr Elton, and competition co-sponsor Senator Dean Smith who dreamed of being an ABC announcer.

Big cash prizes went to Laura Kendell from Carey Baptist College, Joel Gal from Serpentine-Jarrahdale Grammar School and Lexi Sleet from Mandurah Baptist College.

Mr Hastie, who hopes the competition will become an annual event, said its aim was to give local students a platform to highlight their talents in front of some of the best in the business.

“By encouraging young people to participate in the competition, we are equipping them with the skills they need to be successful in life by encouraging them to learn about our great heritage in Shakespeare, take risks publicly and grow their confidence and communication skills,’’ he said.

The judges included Department of Culture and the Arts Director-General Duncan Ord, Barking Gecko Theatre visual director Matt Edgerton, opera singer Sam Roberts-Smith, local producer and actress Merle Brown and Bell Shakespeare WA Arts Educator Matt McCall.