Walden Theatre Conservatory actor and playwright Zoë Peterson was the state winner of the English Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition that’s held each spring. Winning at the state level meant she was selected to travel to Lincoln Center in New York City for the national competition in early May.

Walden Theatre Conservatory students have a great track record of earning this distinction, and their command of Shakespeare and performance makes their entries to the competition noteworthy, regular winners of the Kentucky competition. Alumnus Adam Wesley Brown went on to win the national competition in 2007 and alumna Chloe Bell placed 3rd in the nation in 2014.

Congratulations to Zoë on this accomplishment as a junior, and you can read about her experience below…


Words, Words ,Words

When I walked into Bellarmine on March 4, I didn’t expect to win. At all. I was told that I could go anywhere to warm up and that when the stage was open I could go there and practice my pieces. As I did my monologue and sonnet on the stage, a group of kids started to whisper, one laughed but they all looked at me. I left the room feeling somewhat alone, when I returned we were all given numbers and herded back behind the stage to wait…and wait. There was a group of friends from different schools but all in the same county, all competing, and even though they weren’t sitting near each other they all did a shakedown. Yes, I am trying to go over these pieces in my head as a group of teenagers frantically shake their hands and feet. The space was relatively small, but was very nice. Still- I could hear the birds outside chirping away and distracting me. Needless to say. I wasn’t really confident. What got me through the stress and the nervousness of waiting to find out who made the five finalists, and then waiting to find out who won, was just repeating the words of my monologue. The one I chose to do was Lady Anne’s “Foul Devil” from Richard III. Each word can be felt and trusted and every beat of my heart synchronized with the verse and reminded me just how strong my love of language is. That gave me the only real confidence I needed.