Students Own Stage - Recent News - Te Awamutu College
Te Awamutu College drama students are over the moon after scooping major awards in a regional theatre competition. Nine students from the Year 13 drama class entered five scenes into the Waikato regional heat of the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, held at St Peter’s School, Cambridge on Saturday, April 6.
The annual festival involves more than half the country’s secondary schools. During the regionals, students choose and perform a 15-minute adult or student-directed scene from a Shakespearean play, or a five-minute student-directed excerpt. Schools from each region are then selected to participate in the national festival, held in Wellington over the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend.
In the national festival, students compete for a spot in the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand National Shakespeare Schools Production. The week-long workshop, held in September, involves intensive rehearsals and sessions, culminating in public performances. Twenty-four students from the group of 48 will then be selected to be part of a theatre company to perform at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
At each regional heat, however, one student is chosen to bypass the national selection stage and go straight to the week-long workshop, a competition for outstanding individual performers. Te Awamutu Year 13 student Tayla West won this spot. Tayla performed in extracts from The Merry Wives of Windsor and Much Ado About Nothing. She also directed and performed in an extract from Hamlet. Te Awamutu College students won the award for the best five minute piece, Macbeth, with Rylan Richardson directing fellow students Jamiee Gielen, Hinewai Biddle and Megan Jones.
Te Awamutu College head of Drama department Lisa Stoneham says she was proud of all the students that entered. “It was fantastic to have their hard work rewarded and really good for those who can have the opportunity to do the workshops in Wellington,” she says. She says there were 25 entries from nine Waikato schools. “The Sheilah Winn Festival is always a real melting pot for top quality performance,” Lisa says. “The competition is always really tough at the Waikato regional section and Te Awamutu College students got some amazing feedback from adjudicators Will Hall and Ben Barrington.”
The students received NCEA Level 3 credits for their work. Lisa says a theatre workshop held earlier in the year at the school contributed to the students’ success. The workshop was run by Pip Smith, the director of the Summer Shakespeare play Pericles, Prince of Tyre. “It was a great start to our journey this term which has been focused on Elizabethan Theatre.” The whole Year 13 class has been studying Elizabethan Theatre this term, with the best scenes chosen to compete in the competition.
This term the class also went to the Pop-up Globe in Auckland, a temporary working replica of Shakespeare’s theatre, the second Globe. Students also enjoyed a performance and workshop from The Ugly Shakespeare Company.
Te Awamutu College principal Tony Membery says he is thrilled with the students’ success. “We are delighted with the result and proud of our students.” Tony says the school is looking into supporting the students’ trip to Wellington from its culture and arts fund. The school will also help with fundraising for travel, accommodation, food and other expenses.
If the public wants to support the school’s fundraising ventures, they can contact the Business Manager at Te Awamutu College or email [email protected]
Te Awamutu College drama students scooped major awards in the Waikato Regional heat of the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival. Back row from left: Megan Jones, Jamiee Gielen and Hinewai Biddle. Front row from left: Tayla West and Rylan Richardson.
Article and photo courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier (Bethany Rolston) – 18 April 2019