Rotorua's school age drama talent will be on display at the 73rd Annual Speech and Drama Competitions at the Energy Events Centre next weekend.

Over the two days more than 170 students aged 5 to 18 will take part in group drama items, reading recitals, Shakespeare, light verse, character recitals, poetry recitals, impromptu performances and more.

The premier event is the Performer of the Year Award on the Sunday at 1pm with senior competitors taking to the stage to compete for this prestigious award.

Competition convener Cate Mills said the event was open to the public and encouraged people to come along to enjoy the performances.

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"There will be more than 600 performances over the two days, with three categories running concurrently. So, pop into the Energy Events Centre and see what wonderful talent we have in Rotorua.

"On the main stage we will have our group dramas and individual character recitals. They are always great fun to watch. Plus upstairs we have two rooms for the poetry recitals, prepared readings and improvisation performances."

Mills said this year they had eight young adults competing for the highly contested Young Performer of the Year.

"They have to prepare a 15-minute performance that includes a reading, a poem and a characterisation. The winner can then go on and compete in the national competition."

The two days of competition is completed with a prizegiving where more than 50 trophies and scholarships will be presented.

Ella McGarvie is in her fifth year of competing.

"I started doing drama in Year 4 and have done the competitions every year. They are so much fun. I enter in six categories, which is the most you can do.

"This year I am doing a group drama, a characterisation, two poems, a reading and an improvisation. I am most excited about my character where I play a teenager who thinks she's ugly.

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"I start my character by walking onstage with a paper bag on my head."

Ella said she always looked forward to the competitions.

"It's a great weekend and everyone is really supportive of each other.

"I love doing speech and drama. Not only is it fun but it gives you a lot of confidence speaking in front of a group of people."