Young actors from Stratford Schools will be performing in the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival.

There are seven schools registered for this year's festival, with 22 entries and over 100 students involved. Students from Stratford High School and Taranaki Diocesan will be performing.

Year 12 Stratford High students Ethan Mcgrath and Boston Taylor will be performing Two Gentlemen Of Verona for the festival.

It is the first time that the boys have performed in the festival.

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Ethan says he enjoyed the acting workshop held by New Zealand actress Holly Shanahan. In the workshops the students have worked on language, acting and understanding Shakespeare.

"I wanted to acting a working theatre. The acting workshop was fun. I learnt how to be 'bigger' on stage."

Boston, School Board Student representative, says last year he operated the curtains for the festival and thought that performing would be fun.

"I'm taking drama this year and thought it would be cool to act in a proper theatre. I really enjoyed the acting workshop. As for learning Shakespeare I didn't think it was too hard. I enjoy the old English language."

Taranaki Diocesan students will be performing Twelfth Night. Year 11 students Anne Larcom, Bethan Upton-Hansen, Alyssa Rowlands, Ella Coulton and Lucy Preston are all performing for the first time.

Anne will be playing Olivia. Anne says she hopes to have an exciting evening that's full of thespian fun.

"In class, we were doing an assessment on Elizabethan Theatre so we decided that entering the festival would be a fun way to round off the assessment."

Bethan Upton-Hansen will be playing Malvolio.

"I have decided to enter because It would be a fun chance for a bit of competition and to meet new people, and just try something a bit different. It has been a bit challenging just trying to decipher and translate all the Shakespearean passages. The first time you read your script it feels like it's in another language."

Alyssa decided to enter the festival as it is something different.

"The workshop with Holly Shanahan was a good experience to be part of and she made it fun and enjoyable. An important element I thought was interesting was making my stage movements big."

Ella will be playing Viola/Cesario. Ella says she hopes to get more acting experience out of participating.

"The scene we are doing is a very difficult one as it is very subtle and body language heavy."

Lucy will be playing the character of Olivia. Lucy says other students should give it a go.

"It is a really fun experience."