Drama students from Kuranui College excelled at the national finals of the SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival 2016 in Wellington at the weekend.

Head of Kuranui College arts Juanita McLellan said a crack squad of more than 30 students from the school, including a crew who were filming a documentary, had performed a 15-minute excerpt from The Winter's Tale that she had directed, and the two principal players, Egan Tearle, 17, and Jessica Buckham, 16, walked away with major awards.

Rathkeale College had also staged a five-minute student-directed scene from Macbeth that had also been selected for the national finals.

The national show, on June 3 and 4 at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, included more than 50 scenes from Shakespeare plays performed by students from across New Zealand. For the first time the finals were held at three venues -- the Michael Fowler Centre, the St James Theatre and in the Grand Hall at Parliament. The event also featured workshops and an awards ceremony.


A corps of students are yet to be named to attend the week-long SGNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production intensive course to be held in Dunedin from September 24 to October 2.

Chanel College student Luke Hempleman was earlier this year selected for direct entry to the week-long course and a team of 24 students will be chosen from the Schools Production players to travel to the Globe Theatre in London next year.

Ms McLellan said the Kuranui College troupe had acquitted themselves admirably at the national festival and the awards victories for two of their number indicated the quality of their work collectively

"They all did incredibly well and we picked up two big awards including Outstanding Characterisation for Egan and Best Delivery of Text for Jessica," she said.

"There were lovely certificates and plenty of glory and while all of them can put in their CVs that they were national finalists, Jessica and Egan now have a really good shot at being selected for the production week and could also be among the 24 students chosen to perform at the Globe."