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High School Senior Taking Passion for Shakespeare to NYC - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

High School Senior Taking Passion for Shakespeare to NYC

Posted: Updated: Feb 17, 2013 07:42 PM EST

Memorizing and performing Shakespeare's prose sounds like an unusual passion for a high school senior. But one 17-year-old Renaissance man from Charlottesville is disproving that stereotype, while hoping to make a name for himself on a bigger stage.

Liam Rowland has been studying Shakespeare since sixth grade.

"Up until now I've done mostly classical theater which is odd for a person my age and I really appreciate that part of my sort of lineage as an actor," he said.

Rowland is completely dedicated to acting. The Renaissance School senior discovered his passion at a Shakespeare camp at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton.

"It changed my life," he said. "And I just kept my roots in classical theater."

Last week, Rowland won a regional Shakespeare competition hosted by the Charlottesville branch of the English-Speaking Union (ESU) with a monologue from Henry IV. That earned him a $500 scholarship and a trip to New York City from the ESU to compete against 59 other high school students from around the country at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

"To perform there is every little kids dream when he wants to be an actor," Rowland said.

He can only imagine how it will feel to step out on that stage.

"It's hard to anticipate what that feeling will be but I know there will be that determination and then there will be that extra oomph, because I'm at one of the biggest stages on the East Coast," he said.

If he wins, Rowland will receive a scholarship to study drama in England this summer. Right now, he's waiting to hear from acting conservatories - the next step in his budding career.

"He really is very talented and I think that he should have the chance to pursue his passion," said Andrea Rowland, Liam's mother.

Rowland says he is determined to pursue his passion.

"I don't want anything else to cross my mind," he said.

Rowland heads to the Lincoln Center on April 23.

Even though he's been working on his monologue for months, he says he's always learning something new.

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