Shakespeare students shine

Howick College’s entry of Antony & Cleopatra also took out the award for Outstanding Student-Directed Ensemble Work. Photo supplied

Eleven Auckland students are off to Dunedin to attend Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand’s (SGCNZ) National Shakespeare Schools Production (NSSP) in late September.

Two students from Howick College, Lily Moore and Jenna Feldtman, two students from Botany Downs Secondary College, Shalom DeSouza and Jake Fanstone– have been chosen from the SGCNZ e-National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival to attend the week-long intensive of workshops and rehearsals, following the results announced last week.

Jenna Feldtman and Lily Moore, from Howick College, have been chosen from the SGCNZ e-National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival. Photos supplied

Howick College’s entry from Antony & Cleopatra also took out the award for Outstanding Student-Directed Ensemble Work and Feldtman won the award for Best Voice Projection,

Of Feldtman’s performance, assessor John Gardyne said she was strong and focused, with an excellent stage presence and strong physicality – but most importantly she had a strong understanding of the text.

This was an impressive achievement as the students were tasked with submitting their performance by video due to disruptions caused by Covid-19.

Jillian Dryden, head of drama Howick College says, “This is a first for Howick College and is an absolute honour.

“Who knows, they may even gain the opportunity to attend The GlobeTheatre in London next July, borders permitting, as one of 24 students who will be selected to form the SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company.”

She says that like Shakespeare’s Hamlet they found themselves asking “To be or not to be…that is the question” (Hamlet Act III sc1) while preparing for this years’ SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival.

“We, like many other schools around Aotearoa faced with the challenges of Covid-19, frequently asked ourselves a similar question: “how are we going to make this happen?” But the students have made it happen and more importantly the remarkable Dawn Sanders ONZM, QSM, SGCNZ CEO and trustee, has made it happen with her amazing creativity, vision and team spirit.”

Feldtman’s performance was strong and focused, with an excellent stage presence said assessor John Gardyne. Photo supplied

The three assessors were Ryan Hartigan from the University of Otago; Salesi Le’ota, Wellington actor, who has had considerable experience on the Pop-Up Globe stage; and, courtesy Trinity College London, John Gardyne, in London via Zoom for the four-hour decision-making from 5am UK time, having already viewed all the entries.

The students, from all around the country, will also be joined by Paige Kendon of Howick College and Grace Mora of St Cuthbert’s College, winners of the SGCNZ/Dawn Sanders Shakespeare Costume Design Competition and the SGCNZ/Morrison Music Trust Shakespeare Music Composition Competition respectively.

Over the week, the students will work with three different professional directors and put on three 40-minute performances of Shakespeare plays after five half days of rehearsals – from being cast, learning lines to the two public performances on Friday, October 2 at 6.30pm and Saturday, October 3 at 7.30pm, both at the University of Otago College of Education Hall.