'Shakespeare' for the day of the Olympic Torch Relay


Oliver (Olley) West is playing Shakespeare for the day of the Olympic torch relay in Stratford-upon-Avon after winning the ‘S-Factor’ competition organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


29 June 2012

Olley, 17, is a student at Colchester’s Sixth Form College.  He was enjoying a school trip to Shakespeare’s Birthplace and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre when he saw the poster for the S-Factor auditions and wowed the judges with a beautiful rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 – ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’.

Olley describes himself as a fan of Shakespeare and theatre ranging from Richard III to Shrek.  He is studying creative writing and his ambition is to write a short story from the perspective of a minor character from Shakespeare’s works, like Cinna the poet.  He said, “I'm studying Fine Art, Classic Civilisation, Drama and Theatre and English literature, but I consider myself an English student at heart.

“I'm an avid reader and as a result I also love to write. One of the reasons I enjoy Shakespeare so much is because of his talent at crafting different worlds and kingdoms. I love the escapism that both reading and theatre can offer. I particularly love The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for their fantasy. I'm a firm believer that magic and dragons will only improve something!

“If I could play any role in Shakespeare I would play Macbeth. As a performer, his murderous downfall would be dramatically fun to play. As a character he is captivating; as Terry Pratchett muses on his Macbeth character in Wyrd sisters, his Shakespeare-esque novel, 'somewhere in that heart of coal, madness had pressurised a diamond of crystal clear insanity'.

“I'm thrilled to be Shakespeare and I can't wait to welcome the Olympic flame in doublet and hose!”

The ‘S-Factor’ auditions attracted contestants from across Warwickshire and as far afield as Texas.  Would-be Shakespeare’s included rappers, teachers, historical interpreters and amateur and professional actors of all ages.