Monday Spotlight: Theater student advances to national Shakespeare competition

Amber Ross, 18, of Linden, a senior at Warren County High School, will compete in a national Shakespeare competition in May in New York City. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – An avid theater student will show off her skills at the national Shakespeare competition in New York City this spring.

Amber Ross, 18, of Linden, who is a senior and a teacher’s aide at Warren County High School, competed in the Regional Shakespeare competition held at the American Shakespeare center in Staunton in February. She came in first place. Due to her success in that competition, she will compete at the national level in New York City from April 30-May 2.

“I was very shocked,” she said. “I’m very excited. It’s such a big opportunity to go to New York and compete nationally.”

She admitted that her love for the theater was developed after a push in middle school. She was put into a theater class in eighth grade and she didn’t think she would make a good fit for the class, but after some practice and encouragement from teachers, she fell in love with performing.

In ninth grade she performed in her first Shakespeare play, “Much Ado About Nothing.”

“Shakespeare is hard,” she said. “Shakespeare I feel definitely takes an actor and pushes them. It brings an actor to a new level that they didn’t know they could be at.”

She said one of her goals in theater is to develop a character because it shows dedication to the arts and helps an actor connect with the piece.

“I wanted to be able to create a different person,” she said. “Because I feel like that really defines a good actor.”

This was Ross’ third year competing at the regional competition. The first year, she didn’t place at regionals. The second year she won second, but the third time was the charm and she placed first this year.

At the national competition, she said she is required to have a 20-line Shakespearean monologue and any sonnet to perform twice. The Top 10 finalists will be given a cold reading to perform as well.

This will be her first time in New York City and she expects to do some sightseeing and hopes to see her first Broadway show.

Ross is also dual-enrolled at Lord Fairfax Community College. Her future goals include being an English professor and playwright. She added that she would like to continue performing when time permits after graduating from high school.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com