Winners take centre ‘Stage’ at Shoreditch in Shakespeare poetry competition

PUBLISHED: 11:59 27 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:28 27 March 2017

Shakespeare's Curtain Theatre foundations unearthed at Shoreditch in 2008

Shakespeare's Curtain Theatre foundations unearthed at Shoreditch in 2008


Two budding Elizabethan ‘Bards’ have won the poetry competition for the visitor centre opening at The Stage development in Shoreditch where the foundations of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre were discovered in 2008.

Shakespeare competition winners... the man who would be The Bard, Neil Burgess, and schoolgirl Catalina PascuaShakespeare competition winners... the man who would be The Bard, Neil Burgess, and schoolgirl Catalina Pascua

Neil Burgess would love to be The Bard himself if he wasn’t who he really is in real life, he admits.

“My poem was inspired by a discussion on who I’d choose to be if I was somebody else,” he said. “Shakespeare immediately came to mind.

“He must have had some incredible experiences to write so many extraordinary plays.”

Judges were led by historian and broadcaster Michael Wood, author of In Search of Shakespeare, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s chairman Prof Stanley Wells.

If all the world's 'The Stage' — or at least, if all Shoreditch was...If all the world's 'The Stage' — or at least, if all Shoreditch was...

Neil won in the 16-plus age category, while schoolgirl Catalina Pascua took the prize in the under 16s age group.

Developers Cain Hoy’s director Robert Allan said: “The competition celebrating Shakespeare and Shoreditch was a great way to engage with schools, young people and the community, to get them involved in the ground-breaking discoveries being uncovered at this historically significant site.”

The remains of Shakespeare’s playhouse in Gt Eastern Street, in what was London’s first theatre district, are being preserved as the centre theme in the £750m Stage development, along with Elizabethan artefacts unearthed by archaeologists from the Museum of London.

The Stage is one of the biggest developments in the ‘City Fringe’ area of Shoreditch with 400 new homes, 33,000sq ft of retail outlets including restaurants and cafés, 200,000sq ft of offices and a performance area.

How The Stage development is to appear when completedHow The Stage development is to appear when completed




Untitled, by Neil Burgess

If I must choose—the choice would not be hard—

To be another, who would dare me wrong

To ask to be the one, immortal, Bard?

Though few now glimpse the singer through the song.

For now we know the answers to all things;

The smallest piece of life, we specify;

And Science, and Success, are our new kings.

Between, we find the space to live and die.

But words alone can never break the spell -

For love and hope admit not to our ‘truth’.

The doom of reason sounds its own death-knell,

And only those who LIVE can mould the proof.

The power of suggestion is the way,

No truer in his, than our, progressive, day.


Wonder of Nature, by Catalina Izaguirre Pascua

Wonder of nature! You fill me with joy.

A creature of beauty! My eyes just can’t cope.

Looking at you I feel just like a boy,

fresh out of school with a heart full of hope.

Mon amour, ma chérie, how can I be

the perfect horse rider, just what you need?

I’ll do what it takes. I’ll change just for thee.

I’ll show you the way, if you let me lead.

Wonder of nature! My beautiful horse:

eyes full of fire, mane just like the sun

You’re like a storm, an untameable force.

No need for battle, I’ve already won!

Wonderful stallion, oh how I adore

all that’s about you, I can’t ask for more!


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