What is the Shakespeare Festival?
Each year, Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ holds 23 Festivals nationwide, in which high school students perform five and 15 minute scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, set in any time, place, dress – though definitely in Shakespeare’s words.
The Regional Festivals are scheduled between late March and the end of April. If selected as one of the best five and 15 minute scenes, students can perform at the National Festival, held over Queen’s Birthday weekend at Wellington East Girls’ College. There are awards of certificates, books and even some money. Leading theatre practitioners present 22 workshops, give talks, advice, and view emerging talent! 46 students selected from the Regional and National Festivals attend the SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production (NSSP), a week-long intensive of workshops and rehearsals culminating in performances. SGCNZ NSSP is held in the September/October holiday each year. During this week, 24 students are chosen to form SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company (SGCNZ YSC) and travel to the Globe and Stratford Upon Avon for two and a half weeks in July the following year (fees apply).
Who can take part?
All students between Year 9 -13 can participate in the Regional Festival. However, in order to be selected for NSSP and YSC, students must be 16 years or over at the time of travel.
Being a part of the Shakespeare Festival can be both a social and learning experience. Students make friends and meet others who share a passion for acting, theatre or Shakespeare. It is also a huge benefit to Drama and English students. It can enhance and deepen their understanding of performance and the context of many of Shakespeare’s plays. The opportunities within the Festival are extraordinary. Students can try their hand at acting or directing. They can also be selected for more intensive training, workshops and the chance to work with professionals.
This Festival helps to build students’ confidence in their acting techniques and in their understanding of Shakespeare’s plays.
We have won our Regional Festival numerous times, with both five and 15 minute scenes, as well as various music, costume and character connection awards at Regionals. We have won awards for Best Design, Best Understanding of a Play, Most Innovative and Imaginative Production, Most Outstanding Tragedy and Most Outstanding Comedy at the National Festival. We have had seven students selected for the National Shakespeare Schools Production Week (NSSP) and four students selected for the prestigious NZ Young Shakespeare Company: Lisa Swinbanks and Kieren Kleinschmidt (2012), Niamh Conlon (2014) and Rachel McLean (2015). These students travelled to London and performed on The Globe stage, as well as taking workshops with professional actors and Globe practitioners.
Students can sign up in the first few weeks of the school year. They need to listen to the notices and wait for a meeting to be announced. They can see Miss Harris (TIC) if they have any questions.