Taking on the works of the Bard

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James Hargest College pupil Sarah-Lene Hogg. Photo: Sanda Jukic

JAMES Hargest College pupil Sarah-Lene Hogg spent the first week of the school holidays immersing herself in the works of the Bard.

Sarah-Lene (17) represented the Southland region at the annual National Shakespeare Schools Production (NSSP) in Wellington, a week-long theatre intensive where 48 pupils from 24 regions learn about Shakespeare and his works.

“It was really good. Super intense, but I got a lot out of it,” she said.

“I learnt a lot about myself as a performer.”

Sarah-Lene was selected to attend NSSP after winning the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Southland Regional University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival this year.

The Shakespeare festival is the largest school festival of drama in the country, with more than 5500 pupils competing in 24 regional festivals throughout New Zealand.

Sarah-Lene said the regional event was the first time she had tried her hand at Shakespeare, after being encouraged by her drama teacher Jo Buist.

“It was easier than I thought it was going to be.

“I definitely like looking into [Shakespeare’s] quotes and the story lines I really enjoy.”

As well as gaining skills as a performer, Sarah-Lene said she had also made good friends with the other students.

“All 48 of us are in a group chat. We were like family, and everyone cried when we left at the end of the week.”

She said she was undecided if she would pursue a career as an actor.

“Acting would be the dream, but it is a really tough business.

“I am also a musician, so I’m not sure which one I enjoy more.”

From NSSP, 24 students are selected to travel to Shakespeare’s Globe in London for three weeks where they attend a series of workshops and rehearsals, culminating in a performance on the prestigious London stage. The successful group was expected to be announced within the next couple of weeks.

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