SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival

With every ‘Will’ in the world we will be on a stage near you in 2021! 

There has been overwhelming pressure for the festivals to be live in 2021, as the sheer enthusiasm, energy and excitement is unable to be fully replicated digitally –play “on, Macduff.”

SGCNZ UOSWSF 2021 Regional and National Festival Dates

Friends, teachers, students, lend us your ears….

Yay! Hopefully…we will see you all on stage again in 2021!

Click here for the Regional and National Festival dates and contact information

Please bear in mind this document is continuously updated as more information is confirmed and will also remain flexible should there be any more COVID-19 constraints.

Please contact us for more information if required.

Last updated: 15 December 2020


SGCNZ UOSWSF 2020 National Festival now available on Vimeo! 

The Vimeo from the SGCNZ e-National UOSWSF is now available to view!
46 outstanding selected scenes by secondary students from throughout NZ & our allied Competition Winners
Plus hours more viewing including:

  • SGCNZ e-Regional UOSWSF 2020
  • 2017, 2018 & 2019 award winning scenes from 20 different plays
  • Performances from the SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company
  • Three plays from the 2017 & 2019 SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production

Subscription Costs
To Binge (US$10 a Month*)
Or Not To Binge (US$40 a Year)

That is the Question!
(* Monthly Subscriptions are recurring until terminated, so choose the Annual option for better value)
An excellent resource for Schools participating in SGCNZ events or as exemplars and aids for Drama and English Departments internationally.

Great viewing for any Bardolator.

Click the “SGCNZ Shakespeare On-Demand” link on the Glass Gecko Films Home Page

Or go directly to:

Ministry of Youth Development Survey

Participant Feedback link for July 2020-July 2021:


We are asking all participants in SGCNZ’s activities – SGCNZ UOSWSF, SGCNZ NSSP, SGCNZ YSC, SGCNZ Dance Nimble Soles, SGCNZ PPWS and Competitions between 12 and 24 years old to complete this survey from the Ministry of Youth Development.

Funding from this source is contingent on us having at least 1500 people respond  about their experience of being involved (in whatever way – acting, directing, designing, mentoring, crew, front of house, MCs, Assessors…). From the age range, it is clear that it is not just those still at school.

Any queries about this, please contact Dawn Sanders, M: 027 283 6016 P: 04 384 1300

If you want to know more about the SGCNZ UOSWSF and its impact on the student, watch the following documentary called Shakespeare in Motion. Project-managed by SGCNZ PPWS Alumna Maddie Brooks Gillespie, this video is a great testament to how performing Shakespeare impacts the students participating in the SGCNZ Shakespeare Festivals.

What are SGCNZ’s UOSWSF?

Each year, SGCNZ holds 24 Festivals nationwide, in which  secondary-age students, from 11 to 19 years old, perform 5- and 15-minute scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, set in any time, place, dress – though definitely in Shakespeare’s words. The Regional Festivals are scheduled between mid-March and mid-April.

An outstanding 5- and 15-minute scene from each region are then chosen to perform at the National Festival, held over Queen’s Birthday weekend in Wellington at the Michael Fowler Centre and Opera House. There are awards of certificates, books and even some money. Leading theatre practitioners present 22 workshops, give talks, advice, and view emerging talent. Groups of students may pay to participate in the workshops and attend the public performances on the Friday and Saturday if not chosen to perform. Contact us for further information.

SGCNZ believe in making the festival affordable for all participants, so individual entry fees do not apply. Schools/ Home School Cluster Groups, however, must be financial members at the time of participation in their Regional Festival and the National Festival. Subscriptions are per calendar year, and cost $200 (gst inclusive) for Schools, or $110 (gst inclusive) for Home School Cluster Groups.

SGCNZ Competitions

SGCNZ’s allied competitions offer students the option to explore design, music, and essay-writing. For more more information about the competitions please see here.

The competition finalists are invited to attend the UOSWSF workshops and can attend the festival performances and the Award Ceremony free of charge. They will receive their monetary prizes at the Award Ceremony on the Sunday evening of the National Festival.


Then there are further opportunities!

The Supreme Winner of the SGCNZ/Tony Catford Shakespeare Costume Competition and SGCNZ/Morrison Music Trust Competition and 46 students selected from the Regional and National Festivals attend the SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production (NSSP), a week-long intensive course with workshops, rehearsals and culminating performances.

SGCNZ NSSP is held in the September/October holiday each year. During this week, 24 students are chosen to form SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company (SGCNZ YSC) and travel to the Globe in London and Stratford Upon Avon for two and a half weeks in July the following year (fees apply).

History of SGCNZ’s Festivals

Just nine months after the founding of Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand in June 1991, SGCNZ held its first Regional Shakespeare Festival in Schools. The Sheilah Maureen Winn Charitable Trust came to the party to assist with funding from the first National Festival soon after. In 2006 the University of Otago entered the scene with a significant contribution, which resulted in the rebranding to the SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festivals. This much appreciated partnership has continued, along with valued contributions from other sponsors.

From the initial seven regions, the Festivals have grown to 24 regions. Over 5500 students each year from over half the schools with secondary students perform the 5-minute student-directed and 15 minute adult or student-directed scenes. One of each is chosen to be performed at the National Festival at Queen’s Birthday weekend each year, where participants attend talks, workshops and other performances. Specific criteria have been introduced to include an additional scene in Regions with very large participation. These are outlined in the Board Policy document.

With more than 105,000 students nationwide having participated in the first 25 years of the Festivals, the impact can now be seen on stages throughout the country, big and small screens, backstage, front of house, in various arts administrative roles, and in a vast array of non-theatre based positions. Check out what some of our alumni are up to here.

The SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival is EPIC…thank you to all who make it happen…”

“The UOSWSF has been an amazing opportunity that I have benefited from every year for the past five years…”



SGCNZ COVID-19 e-National UOSWSF Scene Award Recipients!

What a fantastic weekend having the pleasure of seeing all of your ingenious, innovative and brave approaches to Shakespeare which were selected for the SGCNZ e-National UOSWSF – mostly rehearsed and some even filmed mid-COVID-19 lockdown levels!

Incredibly hard decisions were made by those of us in the same room in Wellington – Scene Assessors Ryan Hartigan (University of Otago) and Salesi Le’ota and SGCNZ CEO Dawn Sanders – plus Scene Assessor John Gardyne (Trinity College, London) who joined us via Zoom at 5am UK-time!

We’re super excited to announce the Scene Award recipients…

Click here to download the list

A huge congratulations again to everyone who confronted COVID by entering the Festival in spite of all the challenges presented.

Watch this space in about a week’s time for the SGCNZ NSSP List!

SGCNZ e-National UOSWSF scenes announced! 

Congratulations to all who entered this year’s SGCNZ COVID-19 e-Regional University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festivals! We were overwhelmed by your fantastic creativity and how you embraced the constraints of rehearsing and filming scenes over lockdown.

We are delighted to announce the groups from the 24 e-Regional Festivals who have been selected for the e-National Festival, which will be assessed on 25 & 26 July.

Click here to download the list

The films from each Regional Festival and the National Festival will be made available on Vimeo – watch this space for details on how and when to access them.

SGCNZ COVID-19 University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festivals

So exciting – at last!! With the announcement of the move to Level 2 confirmed to take effect from Monday 18 May, we will do as promised and give you an extra week to get the films in to GlassGeckoFilms.

Glass Gecko Films have devised a method of capturing all the work so many have done to creating entries for the SGCNZ Regional University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festivals, here are the specifications of what is required and how to submit your filmed scene. Please adhere to all the instructions and timings.

The Guidelines for Filming and Assessment have been re-worked to suit the new digital format of the 2020 UOSWSF’s.

We would like everyone to try to get their films in by Friday 12 June – or earlier, so that GlassGecko does not get swamped with them on the closing date of 5pm on Monday 15 June.

Final Registration will be due on Tuesday 2 June. That will give you Queen’s Birthday Weekend (usually the National Festival!) for the final entering and checking of information on the University of Otago Registration page. 

Be sure you have the name of the play correctly spelt and in the right line, and the act and scene written as eg Act IV scene iii. Note the upper case A for Act and upper case Roman numerals for the number/s of that and lower case scene and Roman numerals for them. All this accuracy is vital for uniformity and to create a fully professional visual image in every way. Only you can update, or enter new, information on the Registration Page, as neither SGCNZ, nor GlassGecko has access to your password. What you write, is what will appear on the screen.

We also have a new opportunity for student photographers to submit production photographs of your filmed pieces. There will be an award for best photography of a performance. For more information see the Photography guidelines.

We look forward to seeing it, as will all those around NZ and, potentially, the world!

Contact Dawn Sanders E: or M: 027 283 6016 with any queries.

2020 Regional Festival Dates & Closing Dates

Instructions on how to to fill in the SGCNZ UOSWSF registration form at the University of Otago website

If you need some help deciding where to begin with choosing your 5 or 15 minute pieces, here are a few Scene Suggestions. 

Glass Gecko Films is providing a new service: SGCNZ Shakespeare-On-Demand (SOD) Video Subscription Service. An excellent resource for schools participating in SGCNZ events or as exemplars and aids for Drama and English Departments. Go to Glass Gecko’s website for more information.


SGCNZ UOSWSF results are out now. Congratulations to everyone involved in the National Festival for 2019. Thank you to all participants for a fantastic weekend!

To order a DVD or MP4 of the performances, go to Glass Gecko Films

To  purchase photos of the performances, go to Memory of Light Photography

SGCNZ UOSWSF 2019 Performance Schedule

SGCNZ National UOSWSF Schedule

Results are available for the SGCNZ Wellington Regional UOSWSF

SGCNZ National UOSWSF 2018

All students who performed in the National Festival can be extremely proud of themselves. Thank you to all participants for a fantastic and magical weekend! Click here to find out who excelled in which category.

To order a DVD or MP4 of the performances, go to Glass Gecko Films

To  purchase photos of the performances, go to Memory of Light Photography

Click here to view the performance schedule

SGCNZ National UOSWSF 2017

Over 400 years after the Bard’s death, his words are more alive than ever, and the creativity, enthusiasm and talent of New Zealand’s youth shows that Shakespeare’s plays have lost none of their relevance.. Due to popular demand Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ added another region, which means that Shakespeare’s words and works were celebrated in 24 Regional Festivals.

Click here to find out who excelled in which category

Order a DVD or MP4 of the performances from Glass Gecko Films

Order official photos from Memory of Light photography

 Click here to see the performance schedule

SGCNZ National UOSWSF 2016

Watch the SGCNZ UOSWSF 2016 Music Montage by Glass Gecko here

What a Festival it was! We were excited to present the SGCNZ National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival 2016 at the Michael Fowler Centre, St James Theatre and Parliament.

Have a look at the Festival schedule

Click here to see the performance schedule

Not only did we have Diana Devlin assess at the 2016 Festival, but she also gave a talk at Parliament on Monday after the Assessors’ feedback session.

SGCNZ Regional UOSWSF 2016

2016 was  an exciting year for Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ. Not only was it the Quattro Centennial of Shakespeare’s death, but it was also the 25th anniversary of SGCNZ and the University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, making the 23 Regional Festivals throughout the country and the palpable excitement from the numerous participants all the more special.

The dates for the SGCNZ Regional and National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festivals 2016 were:

Dates for SGCNZ UOSWSF 2016

 SGCNZ Wellington Regional UOSWSF 2016

Students in the Wellington region were zealously learning their lines, rehearsing their scenes and preparing themselves for the 25th SGCNZ Wellington Regional University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival from 12-14 April 2016 at Wellington East Girls’ College.

For those participants in the Wellington Regional Festival who would like to view the photos taken at that time, please go to or email

SGCNZ National UOSWSF 2015

View the results of SGCNZ National UOSWSF 2015

View the Competition Winners

Order the official Festival photographs by Mel Waite

Regional Festivals 2015

For those participants in the Wellington Regional Festival who would like to view the photos taken at that time, please go to or email

Each year, SGCNZ holds 23 Festivals nationwide, in which high school students perform five and 15 minute scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, set in any time, place, dress – though definitely in Shakespeare’s words. The Regional Festivals 2015 were scheduled between late March and the end of April. View the 2015 Regional Festival dates

SGCNZ UOSWSF 2014 & 2013

Download the results of the 2014 SGCNZ UOSWSF here.

Click here for Amy Schulz’s photographs of SGCNZ National UOSWSF 2014 performances. Photographs can be ordered from her website.

Download the 2014 SGCNZ National UOSWSF DVD Order Form

Download the full list of award winners from the 2013 SGCNZ National UOSWSF


Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand most gratefully acknowledges the support for the SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival from the following: