Rotorua secondary schools competed in the students regional Shakespeare Festival over the weekend for the chance to go to nationals where they will compete for the opportunity to go to London.

Students from John Paul College won both best five and 15 minute scenes putting them through to nationals in Wellington during Queens Birthday weekend.

Gabrielle Thurston, Head of Drama at John Paul College said the festival was wonderful.

"There was some wonderful works directed by both teachers and students. We thought it went really well."


Rotorua Girls' High School student Isobelle Cook won the Direct Entry Student and will be joining the John Paul College students down in Wellington as well as heading to Otago for
a Shakespeare workshop at the university.

Bridget Donovan, Drama teacher at Rotorua Girls' High School said she was "absolutely delighted" with all the girls' effort.

"The girls really worked together, for a lot of them it was their first time performing in front of a live audience."

Candice Visser, John Paul College drama teacher and event organiser said it was a very successful event.

"The students will now take on the adjudicator's comments and keep working to perfect their scene before nationals.

"It's lovely to hear the buzz of the students at the festival and that they are excited about really old plays, it's nice that it's keeping them alive," she said.

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Waikato University English lecturer Mark Houlahan judged the performances, looking at how students understood the themes, whether they were connecting with the audience and whether they made the performances uniquely their own.

At nationals the judging will be on individual performance, rather than group performance.

Sixty of the best students will be chosen go to the week long Shakespeare workshop at Otago University where 30 will be chosen to travel to London.

The event is part of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival (UOSWSF).

- Best 15 Minute scene - A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Gabrielle Thurston, from John Paul College.
- Best five Minute Scene - A Comedy of Errors, directed by Lucy Pepper from John Paul College.
- Direct Entry Student to SGCNZ - Isobelle Cook from Rotorua Girls' High School.
- Best ensemble and concept - The Tempest, directed by Bridget Donovan from Rotorua Girls' High School.
- Best understanding of the text - Gabrielle Jones and Danielle Coote from Rotorua Girls' High School.
- Most promising actor - Sam Purdie from John Paul College.
- Outstanding performance in a supporting role - Danielle Coote from Rotorua Girl's High.
- Best Female actor - Olivia Philips from John Paul College.
- Best Male actor - Eamon Walsh from John Paul College.
- Best under 16 female actor - Catelyn McCarthy from Rotorua Girls' High School.
- Best under 16 male actor - Cullen Smith from John Paul College.