Shakespearean year unfolds in Masterton

By Nathan Crombie nathan.crombie@age.co.nz -
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Three Macbeth witches, played by St Matthew's Collegiate School pupils Sophie-Marie Thirsk, Emily Richards and Liadan Jaquiery, contemplate the fortunes of Macbeth. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
Three Macbeth witches, played by St Matthew's Collegiate School pupils Sophie-Marie Thirsk, Emily Richards and Liadan Jaquiery, contemplate the fortunes of Macbeth. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

WAIRARAPA is full to overflowing with theatre from The Bard including the annual Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival for regional secondary schools that was contested on Tuesday night.

Regional organiser Marilyn Bouzaid said the well-varied Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand programme of entries was staged at Rathkeale College under the expert eye of assessor Hannah Banks, a theatre tutor and former drama pupil under Ms Bouzaid at Wairarapa College.

There were five schools involved with the competition including St Matthew's Collegiate, Kuranui, Rathkeale and Chanel colleges and the Rathkeale/St Matthew's senior college, she said, and "a good selection of people from different schools" won through on the night.

The schools that took laurels and selection for the SGCNZ national showdown in Wellington in June included the Kuranui College entry The Winter's Tale for the 15-minute scene and the Rathkeale College entry Macbeth (Act 1 Scene VII) for the five-minute scene.

The national contest will be held for the first time at a trio of venues including the Michael Fowler Centre, the St James Theatre and in the Grand Hall at Parliament. The national event will also feature workshops, a DJ session, and an awards ceremony.

"All the staff and people involved in giving the children the opportunities are to be commended."

Chanel College student Luke Hempleman was selected for direct entry to the National Shakespeare Schools Production to be held over a week in Dunedin in late September.

Ms Bouzaid said a squad of 24 students will be selected from the production roster over Queen's Birthday weekend for the Young Shakespeare Company that will travel to the Globe Theatre in England.

Other Wairarapa regional award-winners this year included Rathkeale College student Sam Tulloch as Claudio, who took the Barbara Vinten Memorial Shield for Comedy, Solway College student Varvara Sidorenko in Macbeth, who won the Speech Communication Association Cup for Delivery of Text.

The award for Best Ensemble Work went to Rathkeale/St Matthew's Senior College (Much Ado About Nothing), Best Use of Props award to St Matthew's Collegiate School (Macbeth), Best Understanding of Text award to Chanel College (Hamlet), Best Use of Staging award to Solway College (Macbeth).

The Award for Bravery went to Mikaela Telford, of Solway College, who took to heart the theatrical well-wishing phrase "break a leg" and badly sprained her ankle during her performance, Ms Bouzaid said.

Ms Telford completed her performance on crutches, Ms Bouzaid said.

Ms Bouzaid said other Shakespearean outings in Masterton this year will include a Rathkeale College production in July of A Midsummer Night's Dream, while she will direct a Harlequin production of Taming of the Shrew in September.

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