For the first time in Rwanda’s history, the students of Nyagatare Secondary School, Eastern Province acted ‘Romeo and Juliet’-- Shakespeare’s famous love story.
The play was performed at the British Embassy premises, Kigali, during celebrations that marked Shakespeare’s International Day 2009.
It was a globe-trotting extravaganza with 40 schools from around the world staging various Shakespeare plays.
Nyagatare Secondary School represented Rwanda and East Africa. They had a cast of 25 S.1 and S.2 students who displayed thrilling and captivating scenes of the feud in ‘Romeo and Juliet.’
Nyagatare Secondary School at their best act
Shakespeare International is the largest Youth Shakespeare festival to span across hemispheres. With the young talent of Nyagatare S.S, little was left unsaid as they mastered the art of speaking in ancient 16th century English. Clad in beautiful African attire the S.1 and S.2 students were at their best.
‘Romeo and Juliet’ is the most popular play written by Shakespeare. It is a story that shows love as a violent, exciting and overpowering force that brings two characters together.
In the play Romeo and Juliet are driven to defy their families, who have always been enemies—the Montagues and Capulets.
The love in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a harsh and powerful emotion that makes the individuals turn against their friends and families.
As a tragedy, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ shows the disturbing consequences of people’s hatred for one another, and the painful consequences it leads to.
Romeo was cast by Frank Mugabo and Juliet by Doreen Abatesi.Romeo was cast by Frank Mugabo and Juliet was by Doreen Abatesi.
Jane Baxter- Charge D’affaires, British Embassy.
“It’s the first time they are performing Shakespeare theatre in Rwanda and it’s so important for kids in Rwanda to use English today. Speaking 16th century English is not easy and it wonderful to see students work so hard and give their time and effort for the play.”
Christopher Harvey- English Teacher.
“Once you start performing and acting in theatre, you understand it better. Students worked so hard for two months and gave their time and effort for the play. The whole concept of performing in an audience teaches them to work together as they identify with different scenes.”
Ronald Rutagengwa- 14, S.2 student cast as Benvolio Romeo’s best friend and cousin.
“I felt proud and great when I went to the internet and saw other students around the world acting Shakespeare plays. Romeo and Juliet teaches us about unity and also tells parents to give their children the free will to make their choices when they are older.”
Edward Kabare- Headteacher of Nyagatare Secondary School.
“Being a Science based school; I am proud to see the students performing in theatre. It is a good performance and experience that the children will never forget. I wish we could have more teachers interested in drama and theatre but they are not there.”
Wivine Ange Gwaneza, S.1 student cast as a nurse to Juliet.
“I was so nervous when we started but I made friends and I learnt how to work in groups. It is so important to love each other and drama is one way to do so. Those who are not interested should join next term and make it a habit.”