Following The Bard’s quill

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James Hargest College pupils Kate Loan and Jeromy Tiatia perform an excerpt from The Tempest at the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand National Festival in Wellington last month. Photo: Brian Scurfield, Memory of Light Photography

ASPIRING thespian Jeromy Tiatia is brushing up on the works of the The Bard.

The 18-year-old has been selected to represent the Southland region at the annual National Shakespeare Schools Production (NSSP) in Wellington in September.

He was selected at the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival last month.

The James Hargest College pupil was one of 48 from over 5000 young actors throughout New Zealand selected from the national festival and 24 regional festivals.

“I was completely thrilled, and utterly unprepared for the possibility of being selected as I’d already had a weekend of plays, musicals, Shakespeare, and performing, all with amazing company, and for me that was more than I could ever ask for,” he said.

“That being said, I am completely honoured to have been selected.”

Jeromy said he had found being surrounded by talented actors from around the country at the national festival as an “utterly exuberant experience”.

NSSP is an annual week-long intensive course with workshops, rehearsals and performances.

From that, 24 students would be chosen to form the SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company which would travel to Stratford Upon Avon and Shakespeare’s Globe in London for three weeks in July the following year.

They would attend a series of workshops and rehearsals, culminating in a performance on the prestigious London stage.

Jeromy said Shakespeare’s work could be difficult to read and understand, so he had to make sure he had a better understanding of the story to perform Shakespeare’s work than other works.

“Personally, performing Shakespeare’s plays aren’t any harder than performing any other play.

“It just means that I might need to dig a lot deeper into what the intent of each line is to be able to make it land.”

One of the selectors from the national festival, Dr. Peter Zazzali contacted him last week to offer him an audition for the LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore, and along with the selection for NSSP meant his dream of becoming an actor was closer to being realised.

“I enjoy acting immensely and if I can somehow turn it into a career, I would be more than overjoyed,” he said.

“To gain the interest of an internationally acclaimed university professor, it’s becoming easier and easier to see this dream become a reality.

“There is nothing like the feeling of seeing an audience full of people being emotionally gripped by a performance, and to be able to make that into an everyday job would be a utterly fulfilling joy.”

Jeromy thanked Kate Loan, Zhane Skipper, Jo Buist and Anna McDowall, Phillie Claire and Victoria Bradney for their support.

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