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Celebrating 450th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Birth

The Sixth Formers of Tenby Schools Ipoh have a special reason this year for staging their traditional Shakespearean plays. It is the 450th anniversary of the birth of the world’s most famous English bard and playwright.

“We hope to recreate something of the spirit of Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare,” said Nicole Fong (Cohort 9) who directs “Macbeth” this season. “We will not only be performing for audiences within our school but also move from school to school in the way itinerant  theatre groups moved from town to town in those days.”

“We have been rehearsing “Macbeth” every Monday since January,” says Ding Zu Ron who plays the main role of the Scottish usurper king. This play, like Shakespeare’s other masterpieces, gives me a greater insight into human psychology.” Zu Ron is one of the 62 Sixth Formers doing the Cambridge A-Level Programme at Tenby Schools Ipoh.

Playing the part of Lady Macbeth is sixth former Chai Hoi Yeen who is making her debut on the stage. “It is my maiden foray into drama. It is an area of self-expression that seems so powerful and exciting to me. It is truly a new world of experience to me.”

Tenby Schools Ipoh’s Sixth Formers will also be staging two other Shakespearean plays this year. They are “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” and “The Merchant of Venice”.

“The plays are mostly rendered in modern English so that they make better sense to Malaysian school audiences,” says Tenby Sixth Form co-ordinator, Mr Louis Rozario Doss, who has written and taught drama for over 30 years at various schools in Malaysia. “They are also timed for an hour’s duration instead of the usual 2½ hours.”

Tenby Schools Ipoh

The drama tradition at Tenby Schools Ipoh is a central feature of the school’s Sixth Form programme. Since 2010, the year of the inception of the Sixth Form at Tenby Ipoh, every sixth form class has produced a Shakespearean drama production. It is part of the compulsory theatre practice experience that every sixth former undergoes at this school. Among the past plays produced were “Julius Caesar” (2010 & 2013), “The Tempest” (2011), “The Winter’s Tale” (2012), “Hamlet” (2012) and “As You Like It” (2013).

Sanika Renganadan, the President of the Sixth Form comments: “Our drama projects this year are a fitting tribute to one of the greatest playwrights in history. Shakespeare’s plays are immortal classics that should be read by all not just for enjoyment but also for serious reflection.”

Another comment comes from Muhammad Irsyad Handan , a former student of Dubai International School , UAE: “To me Shakespeare’s plays are excellent material for debates on moral issues. Many of his lines make excellent quotations such as his moving words expressing sorrow at the death of his wife in the poem “Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow…”

Adds Mr Louis: “Tenby’s drama tradition is another beautiful facet of Ipoh’s strong drama tradition. Indeed, Ipoh can arguably stake a claim to being Malaysia’s Stratford-on-Avon with the superb drama performances by Tenby Schools, SMK St Michael, SMK Methodist(ACS) and the Perak Society of Performing Arts.”

For more details on performances for Ipoh schools, please contact louis@tenby.edu.my or call 010 390 5011.

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