All's well that ends well for Coombe bard champ
A talented teenager brought Shakespeare to life to beat thousands of contestants across the country in a performance competition.
Nuha Bazeer became the national Shakespeare School’s Champion after winning the BBC Learning contest, Off By Heart Shakespeare, which she auditioned for last summer.
The Coombe Girls’ School pupil learned how to breathe, feel, vocalise and make Shakespearean language her own as she succeeded through the heats of the contest, which was open to secondary school students aged 13 to 15.
The 16-year-old was commended by judges for her unique interpretation of Shylock’s “To bait fish withal” speech from The Merchant of Venice, which saw her join eight other finalists from the original 2,000 contestants.
Nuha only took drama as a subject to GCSE level but said she was “endlessly enthusiastic” about Shakespeare and was helped through the competition by teachers Zahida Shahab and Katie Anderson, who were keen to nurture her talent.
She said: “I chose Shylock because Shakespeare’s male characters have the most depth.”
The year 11 pupil performed Juliet’s poison speech to secure a place in the final three, who all performed Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
She said: “This playwright is timeless. His work is important to everyone, regardless of age, background and culture.
“I have enjoyed celebrating the language.
“Shakespeare’s exploration of characters and ideologies need to be given the recognition they deserve.” Nuha will be giving a reading at school for book week in June, will be judging a poetry reading and will also perform at the Royal Court theatre in London as part of the Royal Shakespeare Festival.
A 90-minute television programme of the competition was aired on BBC Two as a celebration of the BBC’s cultural Olympiad on Saturday, May 19.