Inspiring, life changing, exciting and thrilling with infinite possibilities are just a few of the words used by two Kāpiti students after a week of living and breathing Shakespeare has resulted in a trip to London.
Parekawa Finlay and Connor Norris attended the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand National Shakespeare Schools Programme (SGCNZ NSSP) after being selected from around 5000 students who attended regional festivals around the country earlier in the year.
With 46 young actors and student directors chosen for the programme, Parekawa and Connor are two of 24 young people chosen from the programme to be part of the SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company (SGCNZ YSC) who will perform at The Globe Theatre in London.
"It is a huge achievement for these young people," SGCNZ chief executive Dawn Saunders said.
"Both were excellent performers and great team players throughout the week."
They picking the 24 students from the programme and personally called each of them with the news.
"We look for qualities other than just acting," Dawn said.
"Being able to work collectively and collaboratively are vital as well.
"Pare's immediate response was 'Oooo I feel all squiggly inside'. She was extremely excited.
"From Connor there was an initial stunned silence then 'Oh my gosh I'm overwhelmed'."
"When I got the call from Dawn asking if I would like to be part of the SGCNZ YSC I was over the moon. I accepted immediately," Connor said.
"Even after 400 years Shakespeare is such a completely unique thing, and performing it is an absolute joy. The main thing I love about Shakespeare is it has seemingly infinite possibilities.
"It can be interpreted in almost any way and is still important today."
Connor performed as Bottom Transformed and Pyrimus in an abridged version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"It had a delightful comedic quality to it," Dawn said. Both students are inspired by The Globe in London and what it represents.
"The Globe really seems like the place where everything happens," Connor said.
"The best Shakespearian actors in the world preform there regularly and the coaching and tutoring is beyond phenomenal.
"It inspires me and is where I want to be one day as part of my career."
Parekawa also sees making it into SGCNZ YSC and going to The Globe as a stepping stone in her career.
"It's another reassuring factor that yes, this is what I want to do. Working on Shakespeare's Henry V, I was thrilled with all the ideas and themes we explored collaboratively and was so proud with our end product.
"We ended up exploring ideas of colonisation in Aotearoa and changed all the French lines into Te Reo Māori, making the French soldiers and royalty Māori.
"Pare was a standout as King of France in Henry V," Dawn said. "She is an authoritative performer, with a great presence and sense of space."
Parekawa got the call when she was at a Post Shop.
"I was totally surprised and ecstatic when I found out, almost dying on the floor but trying to be as quiet as possible."
"There are so many factors that make this a big deal for me.
"Being my first time overseas or travelling on a plane at all, being able to access high-calibre directors, tutors and workshops along with getting a behind the scenes tour of The Globe and Rose Theatres.
"But the one thing that makes it such a big deal for me is getting to perform on The Globe Theatre stage representing Aotearoa."