Salem Academy Charter School students are lined up for a Shakespeare competition.
Salem Academy Charter School students are lined up for a Shakespeare competition.

SHAKESPEARE’S WORDS: Students from the Salem Academy Charter School perform monologues from a few of William Shakespeare’s plays at the Salem Theatre Company  on Tuesday.

The performances are the preliminary round of the English Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition. One student will advance.

“The competition is for students in their freshman through senior years, and the winner of this school competition will go on the state competition,” said Denise Granniss, a teacher at the charter school and coordinator of the school’s competition.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“The state regional and finals are held in February,” she said. “From there, one winner will represent Massachusetts at the English Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition on stage at Lincoln Center in New York City before a distinguished panel of judges in April.”

The Salem Academy students will be judged by David Allen George, a professor and the theater coordinator at Salem State University; John Fogle, artistic director of the Salem Theatre Company; and Teague Desmond, an English teacher at the charter school.

The English-Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition began 30 years ago with 500 students. Now, 16,000 high school students and 2,000 teachers from throughout the country participate annually.

The student performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the theater, 90 Lafayette St.  in Salem. Tickets are $10, or $5 for students, and are available at www.salemtheatre.com. Reservations may be made to 978-792-8546 or info@salemtheatre.com for payment at the door.

PIANO VIRTUOSO: Pianist Wendy Chen  performs next Sunday at the Shalin Liu Performance Center  as part of the Rockport Music  concert series.

At age 14, Chen debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under conductor André Previn. In 1990, at 17, she became the youngest winner of the National Chopin Competition. 

Chen has won acclaim for her engagements with leading orchestras and concert halls worldwide, including appearances with the Boston Pops and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in programs that also featured musical legends James Taylor and Art Garfunkel. 

Highlights on next Sunday’s program include Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” Chopin’s Nocturne in C minor (Op. 48, No. 1), Liszt’s “Mephisto Waltz (No. 1),’’ and several works by Astor Piazzolla. 

A preconcert talk begins at 2 p.m., followed by the performance at 3 p.m. 

Tickets are $46, $38, $28, and are available at 978-546-7391, the box office at 35 Main St., Rockport, or www.rockportmusic.org

READING MAYHEM: The Mystery Mayhem Reading Group meets at the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library  from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Participants discuss what make a good mystery, share favorites, and learn some new titles. There also is a mystery of the day to solve.

Featured titles include Barbara Cleverly’s “The Bee’s Kiss,” Allen Kurzweil’s “The Grand Complication,” William G. Tapply’s “ Gray Ghost,” Martha Grimes’ “Five Bells and Bladebone,” Ian Rankin’s “Dead Souls,” and Janwillem Van de Wetering’s “Hard Rain.”

The group’s winter/spring titles and its meeting dates are available at the library, 14 Union St. in south Hamilton.

IN LOCAL GALLERIES: “Places and Spaces,” an exhibition of paintings by Sue Hennigan,  is on display in the Provident Bank’s Lobby for the Arts in Portsmouth, N.H., this month. A reception with the artist is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Hennigan’s favorite medium is acrylic, but she also paints in oil and watercolor. She’s inspired by the New Hampshire seacoast and mountains. One of the paintings in the show, “Rest of the Day,” was selected for the Families First Artists of the Seacoast calendar for 2012 . . .  Diverse works by 32 artists juried into the Marblehead Arts Association last year are on display in the King Hooper Mansion through Jan. 27. A reception with the artists is 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The association’s new members include abstract and traditional landscape painters, photographers, and artists working in three-dimensional media. The association holds juries for new artist members twice a year, in April and October.