Local theater student off to New York for competition

CARLSBAD — Local student Dasha Burns recently won a Shakespeare competition and will be heading to New York to compete again – this time on a national level.
A La Costa High School senior, Burns recently participated in the 25th annual English Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. As the winner, she received $300 and an all-expense paid trip to New York to compete in the national competition.
“I still can’t believe it,” Burns said. “I was really surprised I won because I was freaking out a little bit.”
The competition required students to perform a monologue and sonnet of their choice for consideration as a finalist. A self-proclaimed Shakespeare fanatic, Burns selected a piece from “Titus Andronicus” for her monologue and performed “Sonnet Number 78.”
“I kind of fell in love with Shakespeare last year and I’ve been a little obsessed ever since,” Burns said.
Her selections secured her spot in the final round and ultimately, first place in the regional competition. She beat out 25 other students from the San Diego area who were competing for the trip to New York and a chance to participate in the national event.
“As I was watching the initial round, I was circling who I thought was absolutely phenomenal in the program,” she said. “I’m still so shocked I won.”
La Costa Canyon High School drama teacher Sue Raley had been looking for a student who “loves to perform Shakespeare and loves literature” to send to the competition. Burns fit the bill and had been preparing for the annual event both on her own and with the help of her peers before heading to the Old Globe Theater.
“We always perform it in front of at least a couple of classes,” Raley said. “My students will critique her and make suggestions. They’re really good at that!”
Their critiques helped Burns hone her performance of both “Titus Andronicus” and “Sonnet Number 78,” earn the top spot in the competition and secure a trip to New York to show what she’s made of.
“She’s really a great student and she’ll take on whatever they can give her,” Raley said.

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