Rotorua Boys' High School thespians are off to the national competition after winning the 15 minute scene at the Regional SGCNZ Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival.

Wiremu Williams and Ryan Beamish also gained joint titles for Best Male Actor for their portrayals of Macbeth and Macduff.

Incorporating a unique blend of Maori and Scottish cultures with Shakespeare, their 15 minute scene was titled "Macbeth" and detailed the rise and fall of Macbeth set in colonial times in New Zealand.

Director Te Ao Prangnell said she had always enjoyed Shakespeare and decided to portray scenes from Macbeth while "utilising the strengths that Rotorua Boys' High School students had in kapa haka and Maori culture".


Mrs Prangnell incorporated the cultural elements into Macbeth by setting the scenes during the colonial times in New Zealand.

"My underlying motivation is based on the history of Te Arawa," she said.

"Captain Gilbert Mair led a troop of 100 Te Arawa men named the Te Arawa Flying Column.

"They were formed in order to help the crown try to capture Te Kooti. My great grandfather was one of the flying column and I used this story to help the students from Rotorua Boys' High School form a connection to the story of Macbeth."

Rotorua Boys' High School will compete at the National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival in Wellington from May 29 to June 1.

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