SGCNZ UOSWSF 2019 – ‘It’s not just a dream’ – Shakespeare festival to take the stage in Rotorua this weekend

By: Cira Olivier,

Regional school Shakespeare festival organiser Candice Visser says students’ drive and creativity never fail to impress her. Photo / Stephen Parker

Blood, sweat, and glitter has gone into giving new life to Shakespeare, and Rotorua students will showcase their take on the classics for a chance to head to the Globe Theatre in London.

The 2019 University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Rotorua Regional Festival will grace the stage at Rotorua Lakes High School this Saturday.

The festival, in its 28th year, gives local students the chance to direct and perform in front of an adjudicator who selects the best performances to go on to the national festival.

From there, students are in the running to go to the Globe Theatre in London.

Local organiser Candice Stevenson had been organising the Rotorua regional festival for the past six years and said the students never failed to impress her.

With only nine weeks for students to source and edit the scripts, hold auditions, and bring their idea to life, Stevenson said the feat was undeniable.

“You wouldn’t think students would get geared up on Shakespeare,” she laughed.

The competing groups this weekend are from Rotorua Girls’ High School, Western Heights High School, John Paul College, and it has also been extended this year to Katikati College.

Performances will be either a student or teacher-directed scene which will be the director’s take on Shakespeare.

One of the acts the audience can expect is a Hamlet and clown infusion, directed by Stevenson.

Having been to the Globe in London when she was younger, she knew firsthand what could be gained personally and creatively from the exposure.

She said students who attended the Wellington festival last year came back with a renewed passion and sparked creativity from seeing what others had done.

“Because I’ve gone through it, I know what students can get out of it,” which is one of the reasons Stevenson always put her hand up to organise the festival in Rotorua.

Students from Rotorua had previously made it to London which Stevenson said showed others it was possible to make it.

“It’s not just a dream.”

The national festival will be in Wellington on June 3 where 3000 students will perform for the 60 spots at the London Globe.

The details
What: 2019 University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Rotorua Regional Festival
Where: Rotorua Lakes High School
When: Saturday, from 11am
Tickets: $8 Adults, $5 students. Door sales only