Monday 23 January 2017 - 15:00 to Friday 31 March 2017 - 23:59

Competition closed. 

Main prize winner

Bakhytzhan Bukharbai is the winner of the main prize. Read Bakhytzhan's essay here.

Additional prizes winners

Bakhytzhan Duissenova and Natalya Plotnikova are the winners of additional prizes from Costa Coffee. Read Bakhytzhan's essay here and Natalya's essay here.


We invite you to take part in an essay competition to celebrate the great dramatist William Shakespeare. Stand your chance to win a two-week English course in the UK!

The competition has been arranged by the British Council with support from Celtic English Academy and Costa Coffee as part of the Shakespeare Lives project.

Choose one of Shakespeare's quotes from the list below and write an essay explaining why the quote matters to you and whether it remains relevant today. 

  1. Then there's life in't. Nay, if you get it, you shall get it with running (King Lear) 
  2. He jests at scars that never felt a wound (Romeo and Juliet) 
  3. Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit (King Lear) 
  4. That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said! (King Lear) 
  5. Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works (Hamlet)
  6. The state of man, like to a little kingdom, suffers then the nature of an insurrection (Julius Caesar) 
  7. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so (Hamlet)
  8. These sentences, to sugar, or to gall, being strong on both sides, are equivocal (Othello) 
  9. Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all (King Henry VI)

The essays may be in English, Kazakh or Russian, with no more than one essay per competition entrant. The maximum number of words is 300. Essays that exceed 300 words will not be considered.  

The assessment criteria will be as follows: 

  • clear and explicit presentation, clear structure and completeness 
  • conformance to the selected theme 
  • the author's own position, attitude or opinion made clear
  • originality

The winner will be selected by a board comprising representatives of the British Council in Kazakhstan, the British Embassy in Kazakhstan and the Orleu National Centre for Professional Development. The board's decision will be final.

Submissions will be accepted from 23 January to 12 February 2017

Competition terms: 

  1. Citizens of Kazakhstan aged 18 or over as at the award date may participate. 
  2. The required level of English knowledge for winning the prize must be not lower than Elementary.
  3. A passport valid for the journey dates (April-May 2017) must be available.

You can read the terms and conditions of the essay competition here.

The main prize is a two-week English course at Celtic English Academy from April to May 2017.

The main prize covers: 

  • A two-week course at Celtic English Academy
  • Visa fee
  • Accommodation 
  • Meals 
  • Air tickets Almaty-Cardiff-Almaty or Astana-Cardiff-Astana

The prize does not cover: 

  • Cost of travelling to Astana or Almaty and back home 
  • Transport to/from airport in Kazakhstan
  • Health insurance
  • Out-of-pocket and other expenses 

Additional prizes from Costa Coffee:

Also, additional prizes from Costa Coffee will be drawn among the Competition participants.  

Please note: 

  • The British Council will contact only the winner in the competition before 27 February 2017.
  • The results will be announced at the British Council in Kazakhstan's social media pages after 27 February 2017.
  • Essays must be submitted with the registration form not later than 12 February 2017 to (referenced as "Shakespeare Lives Essay Competition").