What is NSSP?

“It was a learning experience far beyond what I expected. It wasn’t an audition and it wasn’t just acting experience and tuition. SGCNZ NSSP taught me life-skills – tolerance, friendliness, camaraderie – that I couldn’t have learnt better anywhere else.” – Alexander Sparrow, SGCNZ NSSP 2010

“It was the most amazing experience in my life!” – Te Piha Niha, SGCNZ NSSP 2011

“Best week of my life. SGCNZ NSSP was a phenomenal experience that I will cherish forever.” – Nick Erasmuson, SGCNZ NSSP 2015

SGCNZ’s National Shakespeare Schools Production (NSSP) is a week-long intensive course, studying aspects of Shakespeare’s works and three of his plays in particular under the direction of leading directors.

High calibre tutors take workshops with the whole group for half of each day. For the other half, the students, in their three groups, rehearse with their Director and group for the week, culminating in public performances of scenes from the play each cast has studied. Other experiences are added into the schedule!

A residential course held each year in the September/October school holidays, it is based primarily in boarding schools in a different part of the country each year, with the performances either in school halls, local theatres or, if in Wellington, sometimes in the Legislative Chamber of Parliament.

Who attends?

  • Potentially 1 person selected from each of the 24 Regional Festivals – Direct Entry Student
  • Another 22 students chosen from the National Festival
  • Plus the Costume and Music Competition Winners.

All must be 15 or older on 1 March of the year of NSSP.

The Process:

In order to capture an outstanding actor not in a group selected to attend the National Festival, the Assessors from each Region have the opportunity of selecting one student to attend NSSP by direct entry. (They may attend but do not perform at the National UOSWSF.)

In addition to the 24 chosen through this process, another 22 are selected to attend NSSP from the 550 or so participants in the National UOSWSF by 3 specially appointed Selectors, in association with the 3 Award Assessors.

The Winners of the SGCNZ/Morrison Trust Shakespeare Music Composition Competition and SGCNZ Shakespeare Costume Design Competition attend NSSP as Student Composer and Costumier. The constructed four winning costumes designs are exhibited at Shakespeare’s Globe during July/August and are displayed during NSSP. At NSSP, indicative costuming is created by the Costumier to fulfil the concepts of the Directors, while the Composer works closely with the Directors to compose songs, linking music, background music and sound effects.

There is a fee of approx $1100 for each participant.

SGCNZ’s NSSP is an invaluable total package of learning experiences, arts based and personally.

Throughout the lead up and week itself, the Directors, Workshop Tutors, CEO and others interacting with these students, evaluate them as team players who have a ‘sponge-like’ attitude and can gel as a group. Of the 48 highly talented students, a group of 24 of them is chosen to form SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company, which travels to the Globe the following year.

“I felt more connected than I have ever before. Connected to myself and my feelings, connected to the people around me through honest relationships, and connected to my passion.” – Isobel McKinnon, SGCNZ NSSP 2005

“This whole experience has not only given me the determination to venture out in the world to learn new things, but also to give back to my community by passing on my new-found knowledge to others, especially back to my own community.” – Alana Haenga, SGCNZ NSSP 2011

“I can honestly say it was one of best experiences of my life. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time and made friendships with 47 boys and girls who I know will last a lifetime.” – Sophie Barrell, SGCNZ NSSP 2016