Karen Craig, already in local news as director of the upcoming The Tempest at Bason Botanic Gardens, is also shouldering the responsibility of running the Manawatu / Rangitikei region (incorporating Whanganui) in the Shakespeare Globe New Zealand University of Otago Sheilah Winn Festival for Schools.

This national competition, open to all students between the ages of 11 and 20.
Nine months after the founding of Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand in June 1991, SGCNZ held its first Regional Shakespeare Festival in Schools.
The Sheilah Maureen Winn Charitable Trust assisted with funding from the first National Festival soon after.
In 2006 the University of Otago entered the scene with a significant contribution, which resulted in the rebranding to the SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festivals.
This much appreciated partnership has continued, along with valued contributions from other sponsors.

The main competitions are a 15-minute scene group and the five-minute, student-directed scene group.
"In the five-minute Shakespeare and the 15-minute Shakespeare they choose a scene
"It can't be monologue — it has to have at least two people, and some of them are big scenes," says Karen.

There is also the opportunity for a direct entry student — someone who is recognised for their talent and ability but perhaps their group did not get chosen.


There are six other allied competitions — Shakespeare costume design, Shakespeare music composition, static image competition, poster design competition, DVD cover competition and Shakespeare essay competition.
"So there's all of that as well as what we see on stage."
All have prize money attached for the National competition. The costume and music winners participate in the SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools production and the SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company, which is the group that ultimately has the opportunity to go to The Globe Theatre in London to learn and perform.

The Festival likes to encourage the use of other cultures/languages, so long as the translation is sent to the regional representative at least two weeks prior to the performance.

In 2015, the Kura Kaupapa Maori school, Te Wharekura o Mauao from Bethlehem in Tauranga participated and was selected for the National Festival. Two students were chosen for the SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools production and one for the SGCNZ Youth Shakespeare Company. If home school groups want to participate, some NCEA accreditation can be achieved and they can be put in touch with some home schooling people in Wellington who have done it before and are happy to give advice.
"This is a life skills enhancing organisation," says Karen, "but many of their alumni are in the business in various ways."

While many go on to use their skills in business or other forms of endeavour, the performing arts does score well.
"I would really like to encourage the home school community to participate, especially as NCEA credits can be gained from doing this, which could be useful for homeschoolers."
Competing does not have to be initiated by drama teachers. Students can do it as individuals.
"I'm sure the school would pay for the sponsorship," says Karen.

The regional competition will be staged and assessed in Whanganui.
"Colin Hedivan has offered to let me do it at Whanganui High School.
"Freyberg High School, Feilding High School, Whanganui Girls' College and Whanganui High School fielded groups last year.
"I would really like to try and increase that if at all possible," she says.

Contact can be made to Karen directly at kebcraig@gmail.com or by phone 021 132 3939. The website is www.sgcnz.org.nz and the Facebook page: Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand.