A fantastic day was enjoyed by all at our Shakespeare Festival in February. A range of Shakespearean plays were performed in original and entertaining styles. We were also delighted to have esteemed Belfast playwright, Fionnuala Kennedy, as our judge for the day.

9J, first of all, gave us a hilarious rendition of Macbeth in ‘Smick-Beth’. This Belfast-themed production played on language to create an enjoyable and entertaining performance. The year 8s really enjoyed this one!


9B were next with a haunting performance of ‘The Curse of Macbeth’. The opening scene of this play, with its blazing skulls, hazy fog and eerie music sent chills through the audience. What a dramatic performance!

Then, 9F treated us to ‘Romeo and Juliet: Culchies vs. City Slickers’; a funny and action-packed performance, with striking costumes. The choreography of the fight scenes was super.

After this, came 9M’s glamorous and entertaining ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Rock and Roll edition’. Colour, fun and music kept us glued to the stage, along with some fabulous dramatic performances.

The penultimate performance, 9P’s ‘Julius Caesar: The Battle for Brooklyn’ was an exciting and thought-provoking play set in mafia-controlled, 1920s America. A striking Brooklyn bridge framed the play- no surprise that this play picked up best set!

All too soon, it was 9T’s ‘Stranger Hamlet Things’. This was a modern-themed performance and was another visual feast for the eyes. The clever set ideas magically turned the stage into a high-school and the music, slow-motion fight scenes and costumes entranced the audience.

We are always grateful to the Art Department who chose the ‘Best Programmes’ designed by the year 9s for their performances. The lighting team led by Kate and Sarah McWilliams and Octavia Shively-Blinn, in year 13, helped to create atmosphere and provided some spectacular special effects.

Sincere thanks to our judge for the day, Ms Fionnuala Kennedy, who gave us really insightful comments on the performances and who of course had the difficult task of judging best overall: ‘Use of Music’, ‘Choreography’, ‘Set’, ‘Costume’ and ‘Original Interpretation’ as well as best actor in each performance. A special mention goes to 9T who picked up the coveted ‘Best Overall’ prize.

We are very lucky in Aquinas, to have such a skilled and dedicated set of classroom assistants who immerse themselves in the Shakespeare ‘experience’ and who help to create these wonderful plays along with the students they support. This year these were: Ms Curry, Ms Jones, Mr McCamley, Ms Shortt, Ms Malcolm, Ms Elliot and Ms Domagala. A special mention goes Fr Grant for his fantastic cameo in Romeo and Juliet; he was a great sport!

A huge thanks to our year 9 teachers: Miss McGuigan, Ms Curran, Ms Henry, Ms Mason, Ms McHugh and Ms Scullion who were absolutely committed to their students throughout this dramatic journey. Their professionalism was clear for all to see. We are also very lucky to be supported by the whole school: from the care-takers, catering staff and other teachers who love the joy, enthusiasm and ‘buzz’ of the students in the run up to our Shakespeare festival.

Last of all, a big congratulations to the year 9s who should be very proud of their commitment and dedication which was clear in their fantastic costumes and props, super performances and enthusiasm on the day. What a wonderful experience!