New Trier student named finalist in Chicagoland Shakespeare Competition

New Trier High School senior Claire David was named one of seven finalists in the Chicago heat of the 2017 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition.

The competition began Feb. 13 at Roosevelt University, hosted by the ESU Chicago Branch. It was open to the winners of area high school Shakespeare competitions held this winter. Twenty students represented Chicago private and public high schools, each performing a Shakespearean monologue of his or her choice and a sonnet.

Competitors were judged on their understanding of the texts they performed and on their ability to communicate that understanding to an audience. Seven finalists, including David, were then chosen to compete at the Finals Round Feb. 22 at the Newberry Library for the chance to win $1,000 and a trip to New York in May for the 34th ESU National Competition.

Finalists, their families and supporters were co-hosted by the ESU and the Newberry Library. Competition attendees included judges Melanie Keller, Linda Kimbrough, Gary Houston and emcee Tim Kazurinsky, a screenwriter and former SNL cast member, as well as Martin Whalley, Deputy Consul General, Great Britain.

David did not progress to move to the national competition, but "she did a wonderful job and did us proud," her teacher, Hilerre Kirsch, said.

"It was quite an accomplishment in itself to be one of only seven students in the Chicagoland regionals," Kirsch added.

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition will be held May 1 at the world-renowned Lincoln Center Mitzi Newhouse Theater. For more information, visit