Perse pupil set to take centre stage in Shakespeare finals

Hanyu Zeng (Year 9) will make a dramatic entrance at one of the UK’s most famous theatres after qualifying for the English-Speaking Union’s Performing Shakespeare national finals.

Shakespeare’s Globe will provide the stunning scene for next month’s finals, with Hanyu set to tread those illustrious boards after winning the regional finals in Colchester with her recital of Shylock’s monologue from The Merchant of Venice.

Along with several other Perse pupils, Hanyu was chosen by Director of English & Drama Chris Green to enter Performing Shakespeare following an in-school competition.

She said: “I was so excited just to be in the competition. I like acting and Shakespeare, so I’ve found it really fun, and I’ve enjoyed seeing other people’s pieces.

“I chose Shylock’s monologue as he’s explaining why he wants revenge against the main character from The Merchant of Venice and I thought it would be nice to show someone standing up themselves.

The Merchant of Venice is also the first Shakespeare play I studied, so I already knew it quite well.”

As well as having to learn the monologue and put over a captivating performance without any costumes or props, Hanyu also had to give a speech explaining the background to the scene and her motivation for choosing it at the regional finals.

She said: “I was hopeful I’d do well, but there were a few other pieces that I thought would be put through, so I was definitely very happy to make it to the finals and I’m really excited for them now.

“Whatever happens, I’ve definitely become more confident at speaking in front of people and it’s just been a really fun experience.”

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