May 15, 2024

Shakespeare Captured Globally

Forty-eight groups have been selected from across the motu to participate in this year’s five-day Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival (SGCNZ UOSWSF) encompassing King’s Birthday weekend, in Wellington.

Guest UK Assessor is Lucy Cuthbertson, new Director of Education at Shakespeare’s Globe. Her career spans professional theatre & school drama education with 20+ years’ experience as a Head of Drama in London state schools, lead practitioner & Drama Director across a multi-academy trust of 13 UK schools. Trained in acting at The Poor School, she has extensive experience as a director with professional, youth & student theatre.

For the Globe she directed the family show, Midsummer Mechanicals, with Splendid Productions, nominated for an Olivier Award. In March Lucy directed Romeo and Juliet for Playing Shakespeare in the Globe Theatre & return to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in summer 2024 with a new family show, Rough Magic. She is an advocate for arts in education, drama on the curriculum and young people’s access to quality, live theatre and is keen to see what the young people do with Shakespeare here.

The other Assessors are renowned NZ actor on stage and screen, Theresa Healey, and Ben Ashby, Actor/Director and former Director of Long Cloud Youth Theatre.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the unveiling of NZ’s gift of Hangings for the new Globe in Southwark, then under construction.  It was this project which ‘spawned’ the founding of Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ in 1991, following Sam Wanamaker’s cajoling Dawn Sanders to establish a Globe Centre here to join then five others around the world. The first SGCNZ Festival of Shakespeare in Schools was held in 1992. Thirty-three Festivals later, the thousands of 5 and 15 minute scenes, performed by 138,500 Rangatahi, plus some 7,800 in other programmes of SGCNZ have provided ‘launching pads’, mentoring and personal life skills development. Alumni are excelling in myriad careers nationally and internationally, having been ‘kick-started’ through Shakespeare’s works.

“Close reading, creativity, collaboration, communication are just a few of the plethora of qualities which are enhanced,” said SGCNZ CEO, Dawn Sanders, “Rising to the challenge of re-imagining Shakespeare’s works in so many ways gets their ‘imaginary forces’ working, as well as, for the many student directors, management of their project, peers and time.”

The Festival public performances in the St James Theatre on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June will begin at 9.3am with Avondale College with a cast of 34 performing a compilation from Julius Caesar. There are several other large casts, including Mount Maunganui, with rollicking revels from As You Like It. Although nine groups are performing scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the interpretations will, as always, be innovative and varied.

Te Wharekaura o Mauao’s Romeo and Juliet, “trouble brews between two feuding factions in pre-European Aotearoa. Two servants of the Kapereira whanau are joking around, but when they meet servants of the rival Motiku whanau, things quickly turn serious.”

Taupo-nui-a-Tia College and Saint Kentigern College have mastered the seldom performed Troilus & Cressida. Originally set in the Trojan Wars, it contains a love affair, bawdy comedy and ‘tragic gloom’. However, the iterations of them will be very different.

Contemporary parallels are drawn and issues explored through many of them. The Havelock North High School troupe has Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato as Kiwi tradies in its presentation of a scene from Much Ado About Nothing.

Kristin School’s scene from Julius Caesar is set in an unsettled place that echoes recent protests in NZ, and the tussle as different political leaders step up to fill the power vacuum.

Queen Margaret College’s witches are three evil dinner ladies, cooking up spells in a remote boarding house, owned by Macbeth and his wife.

Experiencing Shakespeare in this way makes for easy understanding of the intent of his plays and increases literacy and appreciation of figures of speech and the universality of use of his words in the vernacular.

The only consistent rule is that only text from the play being performed is used, though edited as necessary for timing and continuity. Audience members may come and go between the 5 and 15 minute scenes throughout the weekend.

On the Sunday evening, members of SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company 2024 will perform, followed by finalists in SGCNZ’s allied competitions in music composition, costume, static image and video title card design and essay writing, all inspired by Shakespeare, learning their placings and being presented with their prizes by the host MP. Then they will announce the 45 Scene Awards decided by the Assessors

On King’s Birthday Monday, Lucy Cuthbertson is giving a talk, Confronting Teenage Issues via Shakespeare at the Globe.

A scrumptious banquet of Shakespeare.

St James Theatre, Wellington
Scene Performances:
Saturday 1 June 9:30am–5:30pm
Sunday 2 June 9am–5pm

SGCNZ YSC, Competition Prize-Giving and Scene Award Ceremony
Sunday 2 June 7–9:30pm

Bookings: (fees will apply)
$35 – $15
Special prices for SGCNZ Friends, Concessions, Students, Children & Groups

Booking for Lucy Cuthbertson’s Talk on Monday 3 June via SGCNZ Office

For the programme schedule and more details visit: or phone: 04 384 1300

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