A group of 11 students who attended the National Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival from Paraparaumu College have come away with three awards from their two performances.

Winning the 'most original choice of play award' and the 'speak the speech award' for their performance of Henry VI Part 3, the play was directed by Year 12 student Kent Edward Norris.

"Not many people do Henry VI plays," Kent said.

"They're quite long with quite a lot of historical information that people nowadays shy away from.

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"There's also a lot of stage combat and physical fighting which in a modern field people also shy away from.

"But we like that, we enjoyed doing the murder scene — it was pretty horrible but a pretty nice little scene to do."

The 'speak the speech award' is a prestigious award given to the piece the judges consider the closest representation of how William Shakespeare instructed actors to behave on stage.

One thing the group tried to do which was obviously seen by the judges giving the group this award was sticking to tradition without giving the plot or characters any twists.

The third award for the group was the assessor's award for 'rhythms of the play' directed by Kent's mother Lee Norris.

Explaining this award Kent said, "We had the best ups and downs with the emotions, there was a nice rhythm to it, we went from happy to sad and then this happened, and the mood changed.

"I guess the judges thought it was the best scene from the festival that did those ups and downs and changes in the mood well."

Performing in front of a hundreds of people at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, the experience was very nerve-wracking for the group which had a mix of experienced students like Kent, who went to the national festival last year, but also had students performing Shakespeare for the first time, such as Eva Weld.

"It was very exciting and new but also really challenging getting into it because it's like a different language," she said.

"I haven't even watched much Shakespeare before so there was lots to learn."

At the festival the judges give out a number of awards with awards made to celebrate specific areas of ability, skills and excellence.

"The coolest thing about these awards is that the emphasis is on participation," said extra-curricular arts director Clare Thorley.

"At the top of the awards page it states: There is no 'winner', awards are made to celebrate specific areas of ability, skills and excellence."

Kent said, "We didn't go into it with high hopes, more than anything we know the awards aren't everything.

"We just wanted to do our best with anything else we get from that being a bonus."