Canadian Royal Heritage Trust

A National Educational Charity

Shakespeare On The Platform Competition


A Competition for Secondary Schools


Friday 16th November, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.; Arts and Letters Club, Toronto, Ontario


What is it?  Shakespeare On The Platform is a unique and exciting competition for Southern Ontario secondary schools (Public, Catholic Separate and Independent) held annually since 1989 by The English-Speaking Union of Canada’s Toronto-Hamilton Branch. Shakespeare On The Platform 2018 will take place on Friday, 16th November. The venue is the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, 14 Elm Street, Toronto, Ontario. Since its inception, well over a hundred different schools have competed in the event, many frequently.

Who can take part?  Shakespeare On The Platform is for students of grades 9 to 12. It is a competition for schools. A school enters one competitor. Competitors often come from the English and Drama departments, but do not have to. They can be any student designated by the school. Schools usually hold in house run-offs to select their representative. The competition thus involves many more students than those who end up as competitors.

What are the prizes? The winner of Shakespeare On The Platform receives $500 and the J. Rennie Graham Trophy. The runner-up prize is $400 and the Sir Evelyn Wrench Trophy. The third prize for the best soliloquy / monologue (apart from the winner and runner-up) is $100 and the Melvin Kenny Trophy. Every competitor receives gift books from Dundurn Press and a certificate. Shakespeare On The Platform offers camaraderie, development, and enjoyment to a diversity of secondary school students every year.

How does it work?  Students memorise and present a Shakespearean sonnet set for the competition. They also memorise and present a Shakespearean sonnet and soliloquy / monologue of their own choice. The three pieces are recited at the competition.

How do you take part? An invitation to the competition is sent to schools at the beginning of the school year. Ask your teacher or principal about it. Teachers can incorporate the competition into their Shakespeare curriculum. A school-wide competition is normally held to select a representative to compete in Shakespeare On The Platform. If teachers do not take advantage of the competition, any interested student may still participate provided his / her school accepts him / her as its representative. Entrants are required to pay a $35 registration fee. Competitors are judged by skilled adjudicators from the field of acting, teaching, writing, broadcasting and scholarship.

Why Shakespeare?  Shakespeare On The Platform is designed to help secondary students develop language skills. The ability to communicate well by speech is very important. It also helps in coping with frustrations and problems caused by the pace and tensions of society and in developing self-confidence and self-esteem. William Shakespeare was the great poet of the human heart. He had a profound understanding of human nature. Familiarity with his works can ground us for life in the skill of fathoming and relating to other people. So great was Shakespeare’s genius that programmes involving his works are used to help in rehabilitation and for those at risk.

Supporters  Arts and Letters Club of Toronto; The Kiwanis Club of Toronto Foundation; Toronto Kiwanis – T.B. Loblaw Charitable Trust; Nelson Arthur Hyland Foundation; Stouffer Foundation; The Weston  Foundation; The St George’s Society of Toronto; The Down Family Foundation, The Dundurn Group; and The Royal Over-Seas League Ontario Chapter, are among those who have recognized the value of Shakespeare On The Platform.

Shakespeare On The Platform is held by The English-Speaking Union of Canada, Toronto-Hamilton Branch, an affiliate of The Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. The 2018 competition will be the 29th. The English-Speaking Union (ESU) is a world-wide organisation with over 50 national branches, whose object is to promote international understanding and friendship throughout the world through the use of the English language.

Support Shakespeare On The Platform!

Donations to Shakespeare On The Platform qualify for income tax receipts. Make your cheque out to The Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. Send to: Shakespeare On The Platform, P.O. Box 1332, Station Toronto K, 2708 Yonge St,  Toronto,  ON   M4P 3J4.


2018 Shakespeare on the Platform entry package


Shakespeare on the Platform winners 1989-2017