From soccer to society, schools explore Shakespeare on stage

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Nine schools from across India competed at the finals of the British Council’s Annual Inter-School Drama Festival  held on Sunday 8 December 2013 at South City International School auditorium, 375 Prince Anwar Shah Road, Kolkata 700068. 

Kolkata Goalz Police School, Kolkata won the prize for the Best Production with their play Hamlet@recent, which explored emotions similar to the Shakespearan tragic hero in the current context of a football team.  Other prizes declared at the end of the day were:

  • Best Actor: Akhmal Ahmed, Kolkata Goalz Police School, Kolkata 
  • Best Actress: Sanjana Chaudhary, St Marks Sr. Secondary School, Meera Bagh, Delhi
  • Best Teacher Coordinator: Shyamashree Chatterjee, PSBB Learning Leadership Academy, Bengaluru
  • Best Make-Up: Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata and 
  • Best Script: Bright Day School, Vasna Unit, Vadodara

The prizes for The Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Teacher Coordinator include a trip to the UK to learn more about theatre. 

The judges for the finals were  theatre personalities Mahesh Dattani, Arundhati Nag and Kaushik Sen and Dennis Dunn, Pro Vice Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, all of who also gave out prizes at the end of the day. 

The 34rd Annual Inter-School Drama Festival is a partnership between the British Council, the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority and the Manchester Metropolitan University. It is supported by Indian Oil, South City International School, Bloomsbury India, Bourneville College, Education for All Trust, National Jute Board and Wasabee. Partners for the semi-finals, held earlier, were Hotel Hindustan International and SaReGaMa and the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group.

Nine schools from across India competed at the finals. The bard turns 450 in 2014; and in the run up to his birth celebrations, the British Council invited schools to provide perceptions on his works. Do they feel that his work still finds relevance in today’s society? The students were given a choice of re-creating one of his works. These are the titles and themes of the finalist schools plays

Participating schools: 

  • G D Birla Centre for Education, Kolkata: Acknowledgement Marlowe, which explored the theme of Shakespeare as the Magpie storyteller.
  • Kolkata GOALZ Police School, Kolkata: Hamlet@recent, which was a modern day telling of Hamlet’s dilemma in the context of football.
  • Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata: Blinded, which was inspired by the greed of Macbeth.
  • Union Chapel School, Kolkata: William Shakespeare Saved My Life, a spin of As You Like It.
  • PSBB Learning Leadership Academy, Bengaluru: Will, which also explored issues of copyright and plagiarism in the modern era, drawing parallels with Shakespeare’s life.
  • Bright Day School, Vasna Unit, Vadodara: Shatranj: The Fair Game, which was based on the great friendships explored in Shakespearan works.
  • St Marks Sr. Secondary School, Meera Bagh, Delhi: Mixed Up Love, which was themed around mistaken identities caused by disguised appearances.
  • Delhi Public School Rohini, Delhi: The Retaliation of the Shrew, exploring attitudes around women in modern India.
  • St Mary’s English Medium School, Udipi: The Beacon of Hope, which was also themed on the art of disguise.

Sujata Sen, Director British Council East India said: “It is wonderful to see how Shakespeare’s themes are relevant even today and how students have used the stories in the current context of society around them. We are happy that the Manchester Metropolitan University and all our other partners continue to support this initiative which promotes theatre in the classroom, allowing students to learn about everything right from the scripting process to performance.”     

Dennis Dunn, Pro Vice Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “We are happy to be involved with theatre in education with Indian schools. The Manchester Metropolitan University is an attractive destination for theatre education and would be very happy to welcome Indian students. Working on the School Drama Festival has given us an insight into the needs and talents of Indian students who are keen on theatre. We are also keen to work in partnership with institutions in East India in the area of performing arts.”

Mahesh Dattani, theatre personality said: “Passion, intelligence and integrity were all on display in the performances we have seen this evening. I thank the British Council for keeping this festival on for so many years.”

Arundhati Nag, theatre person said: “Congratulations to all of you young friends who are here. I was reminded of my beginnings in theatre by watching the performances today. May this experience be with you always, and may you always be with theatre, as an actor or as audience.” 

The following individuals were also awarded for standout performances in the semi-finals. 

  • Ria Banerjee, South City International, School Kolkata
  • Boudhayan Nag,Birla High School for Boys Kolkata
  • Devika, Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls School Jaipur
  • Karthika Ashok, Nirmal Bhartia School Delhi
  • Swati Singh, National Gems Higher Secondary SchoolKolkata
  • Abhishree Khanna, Mahatma Gandhi International School Ahmedabad
  • Som Banerjee, St James School Kolkata

Live webcast: The finals were also being webcast live on

For more information contact: Shonali Ganguli, Head Communications British Council East India. on or Radhika Singh, Manager Projects, British Council East India on 

Notes to Editor

The school drama festival has been one of British Council’s foremost theatre projects for over 30 years. With this programme, the British Council enabled a strong concept of theatre workshop and performance amongst schools in India. The project allowed students to write/direct/perform their own plays, thereby promoting a sense of teamwork and originality. Several young luminaries in the field of acting from Bollywood or the performing arts, including Konkona Sen Sharma, have had their first brush with acting from this project which they acknowledge in leading forums. 

The Department of Contemporary Arts at the Cheshire Campus at Manchester Metropolitan University has for three decades held a significant reputation in Europe as a vibrant and active community of practitioners and theorists working together with a commitment to new arts practices, community arts, and Practice-as-Research in both subject specialisms and inter-disciplinarity. he Department has a diverse undergraduate and postgraduate portfolio of provision in Community Arts (in conjunction with one of the following subjects), Drama, Contemporary Theatre, Dance, Music, Creative Music Production, Popular Music, and Creative Writing. (

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. We work in the arts, education, science, sport and governance and last year we reached over 128 million people. 

The British Council is recognised across India for its network of 9 libraries and cultural centres. We offer a range of specialised projects in arts, education, exams, English language and society to audiences across India and more than 100,000 members. We also provide access to English language training and learning for both students and teachers, offer UK qualifications in India and enable opportunities to study in the UK.