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Hackney Shed monologue competition brings students and schools together

PUBLISHED: 17:10 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 11 December 2019

Finalists and Skinners' Academy Year 9 singers Samia Abdilla and Mateo Carmona after the winner and runner-ups were announced. Picture: Barry Fitzgerald

Finalists and Skinners' Academy Year 9 singers Samia Abdilla and Mateo Carmona after the winner and runner-ups were announced. Picture: Barry Fitzgerald

Barry Fitzgerald

Students from five Hackney schools came together to compete in an acting competition at Bsix College in Clapton on Friday.

Finalists  were judge by a panel of theatre professionals from Hackney Shed's Young Company, Punchdrunk Enrichment, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Outbox theatre, Theatre Pekham, Tamasha theatre company and Hackney Empire. Picture: Barry FitzgeraldFinalists were judge by a panel of theatre professionals from Hackney Shed's Young Company, Punchdrunk Enrichment, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Outbox theatre, Theatre Pekham, Tamasha theatre company and Hackney Empire. Picture: Barry Fitzgerald

"[Their monologues] deal with complex issues and difficult topics. It's really interesting to see how [the young performers] delivered their lines on stage - they really rose to the occasion," said Christopher Thomas, Head of Drama at City Academy.

The Hackney Shed Slam saw nine young finalists showcase their talents for the second year running. Students performed monologues in front of friends, theatre professionals and performers from the Hackney Shed Young Company.

Drama teacher Christopher had the idea to get schools in the borough together for a competition and hopes even more will get involved next year.

"I find it really cool because I get to meet people from other schools who share the same talent and passion that I do," said runner-up Yandra from City of London Academy Shoreditch Park.

Yandra Pau Baquero (2nd place) from City of London Academy Shoreditch Park won an 18 inch pizza with her performance. Picture: Barry FitzgeraldYandra Pau Baquero (2nd place) from City of London Academy Shoreditch Park won an 18 inch pizza with her performance. Picture: Barry Fitzgerald

She told the Gazette how her teacher helped her choose a monologue about a sassy character that really resonated with her.

"I feel like it was more about me learning it, putting it in my own words and performing it as if it were made for me," she said.

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Each school hosted its own preliminary rounds choosing two finalists to act in the final.

Top four finalists: Louisa Bennamane (joint 3rd place), Yandra Pau Baquero (2nd place), Aran Markwell (joint 3rd place) and Doris Mbakwe (1st place). Picture: Barry FitzgeraldTop four finalists: Louisa Bennamane (joint 3rd place), Yandra Pau Baquero (2nd place), Aran Markwell (joint 3rd place) and Doris Mbakwe (1st place). Picture: Barry Fitzgerald

Aurea, a student from the City Academy Hackney, was proud to have made it so far.

"It felt really nerve wracking for me but personally, I feel like when you get up on stage and pretend there's no one there it's easier to perform. To everyone who's nervous like me or anxious - just do your best."

The prizes for the Hackney Shed Slam were donated by Pages of Hackney bookshop, Yard Sale Pizza in Clapton and Hackney Empire.

First prize went to, Doris from our Lady's Catholic High School in Stamford Hill. She will star in a featured role in Hackney Shed's short film project next spring.

Aran Markwell (joint 3rd place) from City Academy Hackney. PIcture: Barry FitzgeraldAran Markwell (joint 3rd place) from City Academy Hackney. PIcture: Barry Fitzgerald

Hackney Shed is a performing arts group for young people and worked with the schools to organised the event which was hosted by Bsix College.

Young singers from Skinners' Academy in Woodbury Down and Bsix music students, Tafz and Chiles, also performed on the day.

The schools that participated in the competition this year were: The City Academy Hackney, Clapton Girls Academy, City of London Academy Shoreditch Park,

Our Lady's Catholic High School and Skinners' Academy.

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