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AJ White plays one of two Richard of Gloucester’s in Beaver Brae Secondary School’s production of Richard III by William Shakespeare, which runs until May 28.

Richard III slithers onto BBSS stage

By Ryan Forbes May 24, 2023 | 12:53 PM

Lovers of dark, political thrillers are invited to experience one of William Shakespeare’s most famous works this week as Beaver Brae Secondary School’s Drama Department presents Richard III.

Richard III is a story about Richard of Gloucester; a charismatic and cunning man who uses lies, manipulation and murder in the name of becoming the King of England. He’d fit right in with the Lannisters of ‘Game of Thrones’, for those familiar.

Coming off of a revamped ‘12 Angry Jurors’ show, Director and Drama teacher Heather Newman is once again leading a dual-cast production with certain roles alternating actors between performances.

And as a massive Shakespeare fan herself, she says the cast has done well to bring the show to life.

“It’s a marathon. It’s a big challenge and heavy subject matter, but the cast is amazing. We have a really, really strong group. We not only have an incredibly strong secondary cohort in Grades 9 – 12, but we have some amazing up and comers in Grades 7 and 8 too, which is great to see.”

In their final production before heading off to pursue University and acting careers, Super Senior AJ White and Grade 12 Cole Villa are taking on the lead role of Richard, in alternating casts.

White says he was first drawn to the character of Richard after going through the show in Grade 11.

“When we did it in Grade 11, it was the first Shakespeare that I had done where it was actually really cool. It really stuck with me. And we have someone who really knows what they’re talking about in Ms. Newman,” he said.

Other Drama department veterans that will be graduating and pursuing acting after the semester include Trinity Tacknyk who plays Queen Margaret, Cianna Stevens who plays the Duchess of York and Walker Kennedy in the role of King Edward IV.

Grade 11 Sophie Prepp, a young veteran of the drama program, plays Queen Elizabeth. She says the Queen is such an interesting character as she’s one of the few to fight against the sinister plot in place.

“There’s many strong female characters in the play. Queen Elizabeth isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. She’s really one of the few characters to stand up against Richard and for what she knows is right. She’s not afraid to show her emotions. It’s been really fun to workshop.”

The show also includes actors as young as Grade 7, and as Newman notes, Beaver Brae’s drama program has only continued to grow exponentially over the last decade – especially after the transformation of the former stage to a state-of-the-art performance theatre.

“Things have definitely grown,” she says. “The big difference was when we started to bring in Grades 7 and 8 a few years ago. For me, that helped a lot to build the program. Having them get involved and grow up in the program, helps to get stronger and more confident performances each year.”

Josiah Kaldeway is serving as the show’s Stage Manager with support from Lauren Fagnilli.

Shows run May 24, 25, 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. in the BBSS Drama Room, as well as May 27 and 28 for a 1 p.m. weekend matinee. Tickets are available for $15 at the door and through School Cash online.

‘Since I cannot prove a lover…I am determined to prove a villain’


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