Thespians shine at festival

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Verdon College pupils perform a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival in Wellington recently. Photos: Memory of Light Photography

YOUNG Southlanders’ interpretation of Shakespeare has made an impression on the national stage.

Two groups from Southland performed at the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival in Wellington at Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

James Hargest College Year 12 pupils Kate Loan, who also directed the piece, and Amy Lee performed a five-minute scene from Henry V.

The performance won the Outstanding Presentation from a History Award and Kate was awarded the Outstanding Student Direction Award.

Kate said she took part in the festival as an actor last year, but this was her first time directing.

The duo were given the scene, which was in French, by their teacher, Jo Buist.

“Neither of us speak French, so it took a while for us to figure out what they were actually saying for starters.

“We sat down with an international French student to help us with pronunciation.”

Kate Loan (Katherine, left) and Amy Lee (Alice) perform a scene from Henry V during the festival.

She said it was a comedic scene about Amy’s character Alice trying to teach her character (Katherine) to speak English.

“It was fun and got lots of laughter, so that’s always a good sign.”

She said they put a lot of practice in before performing at the regional competition, then touching up for the nationals.

Kate said she would definitely recommend the experience to other pupils.

“It’s such an easy thing to participate in with so many opportunities arising from it.”

Following on from the festival, Amy said she received a phone call last week from SGCNZ chief executive and Globe council member Dawn Sanders who offered her a place in the SGCNZ 2018 National Shakespeare Schools Production.

“I had absolutely no idea it was coming, it was the biggest shock ever, I never expected it.”

She said it was her first time participating in the festival and she had a wonderful experience.

“I found it to be such a caring environment and a nurturing space for people to be able to express themselves.”

She said she enjoyed being surrounded by people with a passion who were supportive of one another.

About 10 Year 12 Verdon College pupils also performed at the national festival.

Brigid More directed the 15-minute scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and said the pupils were totally immersed in theatre for the four days.

“For our students it was just the most incredible enlightening experience and it’s an opportunity that they’ll always remember and treasure.”

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