The stage in the Whanganui High School hall has been transformed into an Athenian forest for the opening night of a A Midsummer Night's Dream tonight.

The Shakespearean comedy has been given a thoroughly modern accompaniment for the junior production.

"The band will play nine Taylor Swift songs," said drama teacher Colin Hedivan.

"Her songs fit very well with the themes in the play."


Ali Gammeter will play the mischievous Puck, Elyana Gifford is the fairy queen Titania, Abigail Martin will play the lovelorn Hermia and Emelye Brown will portray the conflicted Helena.

The Year 10 students say they love the themes of the play and think they are relevant to modern life.

"The storylines are so Year 10," says Emelye.

Students say the rehearsals have been "full-on" and they started in the first week of last term after auditioning for their roles last December.

"I already feel a bit sad that the rehearsals will be coming to an end soon," says Elyana.

"We have become really close like family."

Mr Hedivan has been teaching drama for 11 years and eight of them have been spent at Whanganui High School.

"I have wanted to do this play for years but I needed the right cast and now I've got them," he said.

With a cast of 38 and another 15 students working behind the scenes, Mr Hedivan said it has highlighted a wealth of talent and will give students NCEA credits as well. "There are also a number of senior students involved with non-acting roles and it has been great experience for them too.

"Now we just need to get it in front of an audience," he said.

The play, set in Athens, has four interconnecting plots full of comedy, magic and mayhem, and it is one Shakespeare play with happy endings for most of the characters.

Tickets for the production are available from the WHS student centre at $15 for adults and $10 for students.

Performances are in the school hall and begin at 7pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.