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Pop-Up Globe back to enchant audiences

By Kelly Teed

Pop-Up Globe enchanted and enthralled audiences last year, repeatedly selling out shows and extended its season twice due to its outstanding popularity - and now it's back to do it all again.

Last year's season in Auckland central sold more than 100,000 tickets and this year is on track to surpass that.

Tucked in behind Ellerslie Racecourse, Pop-Up Globe 2.0 offers a glimpse into theatre life 400 years ago and the rare chance to observe Shakespeare's masterpieces in the space for which they were written.

Artistic director Dr Miles Gregory said they were shocked last year by the large numbers of young people coming to experience The Bard's works.

"For a long time in theatre and the arts it's been the Holy Grail to bring in new and young audiences and we've done both."

He said it's been a wonderful thing to see people experiencing Shakespeare for the first time.

"We know those audiences loved the show and the noise they made during productions was so loud it was more like listening to a football match than a theatre piece - it's amazing."

For Whale Rider star Rawiri Paratene the new theatre is a welcome return to New Zealand after two years touring the world.

"I've gone from Stratford-upon-Avon to Ellerslie-upon-the-motorway," says Paratene.

"I prefer being here. I look forward to the live reactions we're bound to get from the Maori and Polynesian theatre-goers. It's going to be really special."

Former Shortland Street star Te Kohe Tuhaka Shakespeare says acting in two different plays will be a unique challenge.

"I'm a little bit nervous to be brutally honest. This is literally the first Shakespeare that I've ever been a part of and in this environment it's pretty humbling."

The three-storey, 200 tonne, 900 person capacity theatre has spent nine weeks in the making with a team of just 90 people taking care of all aspects from start to finish.

A range of shows are on offer this season with comedies Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It as well as war story Henry V and thriller Othello.

The countdown is on to opening night, with the season officially opening on February 19th and running until May 14th.

- Newstalk ZB

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