Media Release: 2023 Canning Shakespeare Competition


Canning MP Andrew Hastie hosted the eighth annual Canning Shakespeare Competition on Saturday, where the spotlight shone on the exceptional performance of Foundation Christian College student TJ Ruwodo, who clinched first prize.

Against the backdrop of the Fishtrap Theatre at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, 20 students from schools across the Canning electorate delivered captivating Shakespearean monologues. They performed before a large and supportive audience of family members, friends, and teachers – and were judged by a panel of industry professionals: voice coaches Julia Moody and Deb Mitchell, and Western Australian Academy Performing Arts (WAAPA) Shakespeare expert Dr. Tom Heath.

TJ Ruwodo's stunning portrayal of Caliban from "The Tempest" (Act II, Scene II) secured him top honours for the day. Holly Creelman, representing Mandurah Baptist College, claimed second place for her compelling rendition of Macbeth from "Macbeth" (Act II, Scene I), and Joel Hansen from Halls Head College dazzled as Puck in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" (Act III, Scene II), securing third place.

Mr. Hastie expressed his joy at watching the evolution of the competition since its inaugural event in 2016, and he emphasised the importance of the encouragement and support of parents, teachers, and especially drama educators, in nurturing students' dedication and hard work.

Mr Hastie gave particular thanks to Dr Heath, who has generously offered to conduct workshops for all finalists at WAAPA in upcoming weeks.

Regarding the enduring relevance of Shakespeare, Mr. Hastie remarked, "Shakespeare is hundreds of years old, and while it may seem challenging to grasp, it offers us a treasure trove of characters, stories, and language. In fact, much of today's colloquial speech has roots in Shakespeare. It's crucial for our youth, especially in the Peel region, to tackle such demanding material, master complex language, and breathe life into the characters Shakespeare crafted centuries ago."

Looking to the future, Mr. Hastie expressed his hope that this competition would become a launching pad for aspiring actors, directors, and other creatives in the world of film and theatre.

The Canning Shakespeare Competition, an annual event spearheaded by Mr. Hastie, aims to provide students in the Canning electorate with an opportunity to hone their public speaking and theatrical skills onstage, connect with industry professionals, and receive valuable feedback on their performances.