The Poet’s Den Theatre: ‘The Bard of Stratford’ Returns to Harlem

The Poet’s Den Theatre

Founder Ji Soo Lee

Magnolia Mansion

309 E. 108th St

New York, NY 10029

(212) 427-1445

On Friday, May 21st, New York City students competed in the 8th Annual Public High School Shakespearean Monologue Contest. Burgundy and velvet all around, framed tapestries, white molding and carved plaster, the setting exudes theatrical mood within this beautiful, elegant little theatre with its deep stage and wooden seats. Host Juan Villegas delivered an introduction that boosts pride, confidence and ease, and the performances began.

(LR)Tiana Cortes, Amanda Bermudez, Cynthia Paul

One after another, the participants performed their monologues with courage and heart. Like previous contests, the judging proved difficult as students put out their best effort for this competitive afternoon of Shakespearian acting and fun. Bronx School For Excellence Principal Carmen Bardeguez-Brown surely echoes the opinion of all the schools and everyone involved with this event, “We are all so proud to have a student represent our school at this competition.”


1st Place : Cynthia Paul, New Design H.S. – Viola, Twelfth Night ,Act 1, Scene 5

2nd Place: Amanda Bermudez, New Design H.S., – Helena, Midsummer, Act 3, Scene 2

3rd Place: Graham Foster Hill, Lower Manhattan Arts Academy, Marulles, J. Caesar, Act 1, Scene 1

4th Place: Tiana Cortes, School for Excellence, Juliet, Romeo & Juliet, Act 3, Scene 2

The Players and Support Staff

Certificate of Excellence in Interpretation: Edgar Veras, Antony, J.Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2

Certificate of Excellence in Projection: Kayla Young, Queen Margaret, Henry VI, A:1, S:1


Kelly Brock, H.S. for Media & Communications

Yetta Garfield, Lower Manhattan Arts Academy

John Istel & Avi Kline, New Design High School

Tiana Cortes with smile


Sherrie Garcia, Lower Man. Arts Aca., Viola, Tweflth Night, A:2, S:2

Miguel Tejada, New Design, Midsummer, Egeus, A:1, S:1

Dilyon Stanislaus, New Design, Midsummer, Oberon, A:2, S:1

Stanly Mercedes, Media & Comm., As You like it, Jaques, A:2, S: 7

Alexander Martinez, Lower Man, Arts, Aca., Macbeth, A: 2, S: 2

Jonathan Tejeda, Media & Comm., Antony, J. Caesar, A:3, S:2

JUDGES: Nicholasa Mohr & Ian Gordon

“This event helps establish a valuable tradition of opportunity for inner-city students to stretch their minds and engage in enriching educational and artistic challenges.”

Congratulations to all the participants, teachers, schools and staff.

Student & staff photos: Dorrie Barbanel & Gwilym Roddick

Special Gratitude goes out to The Puffin Foundation for the Arts for their generosity and continued support.

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David Pambianchi

David Pambianchi is a New York writer, who loves to tell stories about the city, the people, the entertainment, the sport and the businesses that catch his attention.

Novel: Carrots & Apples: Parenthood, Divorce and Public Corruption