Local youth with a passion for speech and drama have put their best performances forward at a competition held in Rotorua recently.

The 73rd Annual Speech and Drama Competitions was held at the Energy Events Centre last weekend.

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

The premier event involved senior conpetitors taking to the stage to compete for the Performer of the Year Award.

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Those vying for the award had to present a 15 minute play which must be of poetry, prose and drama linked together with a theme, followed with solo improvisation.

Alice Waldin, 17, was dubbed the winner during the prizegiving, where more than 50 trophies and scholarships were presented.

Alice, a Rotorua Lakes High School student, says the win was a shock at first but ultimately "it was an amazing feeling".

"I think it's a really awesome competition. I go every year and think the atmosphere is cool. Everyone is supportive and it's a great competition to be at."

In October she will compete at the Performing Arts Competitions Association of New Zealand (PACANZ) national competition in Palmerston North.

Alice says it will be a great experience and is thankful to her speech and drama teacher Jennifer Wicks, who she has studied under for about seven years.

Jennifer says the competitors are judged against a strict criteria for the Performer of the Year Award.

Jennifer had four students competing for the award and was proud they had performed to such a high standard.

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"It didn't matter what the end result was. Seeing them up there so confident and comfortable was the pinnacle for me."

She says the annual competition is a great experience and way for youth to learn to perform in front of others.

"The confidence they gain from this is something that they will take with them right through the rest of their life."

Performer of the Year Award
Alice Waldin, first place
Stella Pinckney, second equal
Orla Walsh, second equal

Special trophies 2019, Trophy Winners
The Ben & Todd Trophy — Comical Excellence, Leo Schweizer
Danielle & Candy Visser Shakespeare Trophy, Katelyn Donald
Frock of Ages Trophy — Best Costume, Stella Pinckney
Remo Royal Malcolm Trophy — Most Outstanding Character, Ella Broadley
Olivia Webb Cup — Most Outstanding Performer under 8 years, Baishe Dalley Wood
Laura Watson Trophy — Most Promising Performer Under 10 years, Jemima Park
McGarvie Trophy — Most Promising Performer Under 12 years, Luca Finlayson
Kevin Beamish Trophy — Most Promising Performer Under 14 years, Jesse Park
SCA 25th Anniversary Trophy — Most Promising Performer Over 14 years, Annelise Donald
50th Anniversary Cup — Most Outstanding Performer, Alice Waldin