Students for Shakespeare

Howick College’s Hamlet from the 2019 festival. Photos Memory of Light Photography – Brian Scurfield

Students Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) will soon celebrate the 30th National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival featuring some local schools.

SGCNZ CEO Dawn Sanders said the festival is where audiences experience the extraordinary talent of students from around the country.

“Students will present their innovative and creative interpretations of the Bard’s work in delectable bite size 5 and 15-minute performances live on stage in Wellington,” Sanders said.

A total of 48 groups of students selected from throughout New Zealand will feature and this year Auckland performers hail from St Cuthbert’s College, Diocesan School for Girls, Avondale College, Kristin School, Howick College, Macleans College, Takapuna Grammar, Long Bay College, and Botany Downs Secondary College.

“These students have worked incredibly hard and deserve as wide an audience as possible.”

There will be 23 of Shakespeare’s plays in two days.

“Amidst the ever-popular A Midsummer Night’s Dream and MacbethHamlet and Romeo & Juliet, the public can see are vignettes from Pericles, Titus Andronicus, Troilus and Cressida, CymbelineAll’s Well that Ends Well and many more,” said Sanders.

“Now in their 30th year, Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand’s Festivals provide a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a taste of all these plays, in an incredibly diverse range of situations and interpretations.”

The festival runs from June 3-7.

“Watching each other perform is a vital component of the festival,” said Sanders.

“It provides the young people with opportunities for them to evaluate what works well, or not, be inspired and develop their thirst to have whetted further in the future.”

Inspiring Alumni will also perform and speak about their career trajectories, the realities of working in the arts and how they can utilise their skills in other realms.

“Close reading and coming to terms with the language greatly assist literacy and literary skills and feeds into University and other tertiary studies,” Sanders said.

“Student directing enhances leadership qualities, drawing out competencies, managing peers and embracing team work.

“With heightened anxiety amongst young people, exacerbated by Covid-19, engaging collectively, having courage to present to audiences, developing camaraderie and trust, so necessary in a cast, have provided a life-line for many of the 125,000 who have participated in the past 30 years.”