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Nicholas Amott with his grant. Photo: Awesome Ottawa.

Awesome Ottawa December Award: Transforming popular songs into works of Shakespeare

By Awesome Ottawa on December 21, 2020



December’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Nicholas Amott, an Ottawa writer and theatre actor, to transform popular songs into works of Shakespeare.

Nicholas Amott with his grant. Photo: Awesome Ottawa.

“First,” explains Nicholas, “the original song lyrics are rewritten in old Elizabethan English, and arranged in iambic pentameter. Then they are performed and recorded on video as dramatic monologues, scenes, or sonnets.”

“It is through this process,” Nicholas continues, “that the hidden ‘story’ of each song is uncovered. Sometimes it is obvious, and very much in tune with what the original song intended. Often it is ambiguous, with the audience left to fill in the gaps for themselves. Whatever I think the story is, I try to convey it as clearly as necessary in the finished product.”

“My goal for this project,” says Nicholas, “is to write and present classical-style monologues and scenes out of material that has nothing to do with theatre, never mind William Shakespeare. To blend styles old and new, and see what dreams may come. To create, via recycling, something that is simultaneously new and familiar – the first and foremost appeal being the unwavering attachment to the original source.”

To date, Nicholas’ “Spacepeare” channel includes adaptations of works by Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, 2kGoldn, Demi Lovato, System of a Down, Van Halen, Jon Bon Jovi, Guns n’ Roses, and more.

Awesome Ottawa is part of a global movement of self-organizing chapters forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time. At each chapter, 10 or so “trustees” each contribute $100 every month, and review short applications received online to decide on the recipient of the pooled funds — usually a local project, but occasionally a particularly awesome one far away from home. Globally, close to $5 million has already been awarded – $134,000 of that by Awesome Ottawa. For more information, visit