FAQ Categories:

SGCNZ UOSWSF (and allied Competitions)



SGCNZ’s Intent


What are the history and name of the SGCNZ’s Festivals and funders?

  • The SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festivals (UOSWSF) were initiated in 1992, and are organised annually, by Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand
  • This is the 28th Festival and over 115,000 students have participated since they began
  • Note we intentionally call these FESTIVALS – the ‘Competitions’ are the allied ones in Costume design, Music Composition, Static Image, Poster and Video Title Card design, and Essay
  • The University of Otago is our most generous Principal Sponsor – since 2006
  • Our largest grant is from the Ministry of Youth Development – since 2017 – a new application is being made in February for the next 3 years
  • We are also wrapped in funding from the Ministry of Education!
  • We receive a considerably lesser amount from Creative New Zealand – a new multi-year Kahikatea application is being prepared for submission in April
  • The Sheilah Maureen Winn Trust is our longest standing grant maker (of a much smaller amount)
  • Therefore, the Festivals should be referred to by their full name as we do (or by the initialisation) and not referred to as the ‘Sheilah Winn’ – they are SGCNZ’s Festivals
  • The rest of the funding is cobbled together through applications each year to some 75 trusts, organisations and individuals

How do I find out about the region in which we should perform?

  • You may choose in which region you enter – but it must be in one region only
  • A list of all of these is on the University of Otago and SGCNZ websites with dates, entry closing dates and Regional Representative details
  • Your Reg Rep will be able to see your on-line Registration and will make further contact with finer local details
  • Hard copy applications are acceptable, but the collation of additional information captured on-line is vital for funding compliance

What is the cost to participate?

  • There is no charge per student to participate
  • By offering up to $1000 seeding money to each Regional Representative, it is anticipated that other costs will be covered by local sponsorship and door takings – the Board has always been insistent that no additional charges, over and above SGCNZ Friends’ Membership, be made to groups, students or schools -full inclusivity is our prime ethos, irrespective of socio-economic situations
  • Each School/Homeschool Cluster entering Scenes and/or SGCNZ allied Competition entries must be a current financial SGCNZ Friend at the time of the Regional and National Festivals – Membership Forms are available under Join Us
  • As many entries as you may make in the Festivals and Competitions can be made per School/Homeschool Cluster for the one subscription
  • Participants in the SGCNZ allied Competitions may enter under an individual student SGCNZ Membership fee if the School/Homeschool Cluster is not wishing to be involved in any other way
  • A discretionary reduction is possible if essential, on application to the CEO
  • New Requirement: A copy of the SGCNZ Membership Card must be scanned and sent to the relevant Regional Representative and, in the case of the National Festival selected groups, to the SGCNZ Office, as proof of current membership

    What are the age limits?
  • The Festivals are open to students from Year 7 – 13, ages 11 – under 20 years old (if still in secondary schooling)
  • For eligibility to be selected for the National Festival, groups including Year 7 and 8s may have no more than 20% of them in the cast
  • Higher percentages of younger students may participate in scenes in Regional Festivals, should the Regional Representative choose to accommodate them, but those groups would be ineligible for selection for the National Festival

Who is eligible to participate?

  • Schools and other modes of education which include eligible aged students are welcome to participate
  • This includes Secondary and Area Schools, Kura Kaupapa M?ori Schools and other ethnic special schools, Te Kura, Homeschoolers, Teen Schools, Private and Religious Schools

What are the scene durations?

  • Keeping to the time maximum durations of 5 minutes and no less than 4 minutes for the Student-Directed scenes, and 15 minutes and no less than 10 minutes for the Adult- or Student-Directed scenes, is imperative
  • If over or under time specifications at a Regional SGCNZ UOSWSF, the scene will be ineligible for selection for the National UOSWSF, though individuals may receive awards and be eligible for selection as the Direct Entry student to attend SGCNZ NSSP
  • If over or under time at the National Festival, it will be ineligible for any scene awards, though individuals may receive awards and by eligible for selection to attend SGCNZ NSSP

Who may direct scenes?

  • Only Students may direct 5 minute scenes
  • Adults or Students may direct 15 minute scenes
  • Professional directors are permitted to direct 15 minute scenes, especially if school staff members are unavailable or lacking experience in directing Shakespeare. (This does not give the group an unfair advantage as these scenes are not always selected to go on to the National UOSWSF, and it increases the standard of drama in the school)

What are the restrictions regarding text, songs and music?

  • Only Shakespeare’s words may be used
  • …except in songs – which are free of APRA charges, though it is preferred that traditional Shakespearean songs are sung, or his words are set to music – of whatever style is appropriate for the setting of the scene
  • Live music is encouraged
  • An exceptional word change may be requested via the CEO
  • Scenes may be edited and compilations done from – only – one play, as long as the essence of that play is retained i.e. not a simply thematic or gimmicky presentation
  • Any time, place, costuming may be used
  • A poem of Shakespeare’s may be acted as long as there are two or more speaking actors on stage at the same time – editing is permitted though integrity of the meaning must be retained

Are we allowed translations?

  • Passages or whole plays may be translated into Te Reo and other languages, providing they are faithful to Shakespeare’s text
  • Groups must submit the translated text to the Regional Representative, or CEO for the National Festival, no less than 2 weeks in advance, so that it can be checked beforehand by an appropriate speaker of the relevant language

How many scenes may we enter and how many actors?

  • The number of scenes permitted per school is at the discretion of the Regional Representative, depending on availability of the venue and other factors – however, as we want to provide this opportunity to as many people as possible, we encourage multiple scenes – NB this does not necessarily advantage those schools – many scenes have been selected from Regional Festivals with only 1 or 2 from that school
  • Groups should have some variation in actors if entering more than one scene
  • Monologues are not permitted – there must be at least 2 speaking actors on stage throughout the majority of the scene
  • There is no maximum number, though 35 is the largest cast we have had

What are the technical aspects?

  • Use of the auditorium and interaction with the audience are encouraged
  • Full or partial auditorium ‘shared’ light may be used
  • Lighting and other effects must be minimal
  • No live flames, smoke machines, dry ice may be used
  • No water or fake blood may be used on stage unless discussed with the Stage Manager
  • The National and some Regional Festivals are filmed – a reminder that dim lighting makes for unspectacular results!
  • Set up and ‘strike’ (at the end) times must not exceed two minutes each

More details on these and other technical exclusions must be read in the Criteria

What is the scene selection process for SGCNZ National UOSWSF & SGCNZ NSSP Direct Entry?

Assessor/s should select:

  • One Five Minute Student-Directed Excerpt (four min minimum, five min maximum)
  • One 15 Minute Adult- or Student-Directed scene (ten min minimum, 15 min maximum)
  • One outstanding actor or student director who is NOT in a group chosen to attend the National UOSWSF, and is 15 years or older on 1 March 2020, may be selected as the Direct Entry Student to SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production (in September/October)
    If there is no student deemed to be worthy of selection for Direct Entry to NSSP, assessors do not have to choose anyone. This means there will be one more space for a student to be selected for NSSP from eligible students at the National UOSWSF.
  • If your Regional UOSWSF has more than any of the following, an additional 5 or 15 minute scene may be selected to attend the National UOSWSF:
  • 50 scenes or more
  • 15 or more different schools and Homeschool groups
  • more than 300 (different) students participating

If there is a total of only one or two schools/ Homeschool groups participating in your Region, only one either five or 15 minute scene may be selected to attend the National Festival, plus Direct Entry to NSSP.
This is deemed by the Board as fair ‘proportional representation’.

How do we register for the SGCNZ Regional UOSWSF & find the criteria?

To register for the SGCNZ Regional Festivals go to www.shakespeare.otago.ac.nz.

  • Click on ‘Register your entry for the Festival’.
  • Under Main Menu click on the link – ‘Introduction, Board Policies and Criteria‘.
  • Scroll down to ‘CRITERIA’. Please read these and note the few, yet very specific Criteria and Board Policies. There are new inclusions, so even if you are regular participants, please read them carefully.
  • Go back to the Main Menu and, under SGCNZ Regional Festival, click ‘Enter Festival’. Note the Board Policies.
  • Click on the ‘I Agree’ box at the bottom of the page. You will then be taken to the Registration Form.
  • Follow the instructions and select from the drop down boxes.
  • Do take a photo or screen capture of your Password and Registration Number.
    (We can help you with the latter, but not the password if you forget that.)

Step-by-step instructions for filling in the SGCNZ UOSWSF registration form at the University of Otago website

Please let Dawn know if you have any suggestions for improvements or difficulties in using the online registration form. Do not contact the University of Otago directly – the Festivals are organised by SGCNZ.

My scene was not chosen for the National UOSWSF. Can I still go?

Students can pay to attend the Festival as non-performers and participate in the workshops, hear the talks, go on the tours and watch the performances. Contact the SGCNZ Office, if this is the case, and a Non-Performer National Information Pack will be sent to you.

Do I have to attend the whole National Festival?

If your scene was chosen at a Regional UOSWSF, all components of the Festival are compulsory for you, from Friday morning until the end of Sunday night. If attending as a non-performer, you may attend as much or as little as you choose, as long as you have paid for it.

What are Placing Calls?

These are scheduled slots on the Michael Fowler Centre stage to give each group its compulsory Health & Safety briefing, allow you to experience the size of the stage, note entrances and exits, do voice checks, and give your lighting and sound directions to the Stage Manager and Lighting Technician. 5-minute scenes have 5 minutes on stage and 15-minute scenes have 10 minutes – it is not a full rehearsal.

SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production (SGCNZ NSSP)


SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production (SGCNZ NSSP) is an intensive week filled with workshops and rehearsals, culminating in two public performances of 40 minutes of scenes from three Shakespeare plays. It takes place from 29 September – 7 October in Wellington this year.

How do I get chosen for SGCNZ NSSP?

There are three ways to be selected for the SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production (SGCNZ NSSP) – at your Regional UOSWSF or at the National UOSWSF.

  • One student may be chosen from each of the 24 Regional Festivals for Direct Entry
  • 22 students will be chosen to attend from the SGCNZ National UOSWSF
  • The winner of the SGCNZ Shakespeare Costume Design Competition and the SGCNZ/Morrison Music Trust Shakespeare Music Composition Competition are also offered places at NSSP (Same fees apply)
  • On the Regional Festival on-line Registration Forms and the hard copy ones you or your teacher completes for your participation at the SGCNZ National UOSWSF, indication needs to be made of those wishing to be considered for SGCNZ NSSP.
  • A description of your costume or other defining accessory you will be wearing on stage at the SGCNZ Regional and National UOSWSF enables the Assessors to tell all the actors apart – especially if you are wearing very similar costumes

SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company (SGCNZ YSC)

What is SGCNZ YSC?

SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company (SGCNZ YSC) is a study tour based primarily at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, where the students spend 10 days participating in workshops, talks, Q&A sessions about the plays with actors and directors, behind the scene tours of the Globe, Rose and National Theatre, watch performances, rehearse and perform on the Globe Stage in front of an audience. They move on to Stratford-Upon-Avon for further educational experiences, tours, talks and performances.

Can I apply for SGCNZ YSC?

  • First one has to be selected to attend SGCNZ NSSP.
  • Twenty-four of the 48 participants at SGCNZ NSSP will be selected by the SGCNZ CEO and the three NSSP Directors to go to the Globe in London the following July.
  • Only those chosen to attend NSSP are eligible to be selected for SGCNZ YSC.

How do I purchase tickets to watch SGCNZ YSC’s performance at Shakespeare’s Globe? 

For bookings only, email higher.education@shakespearesglobe.com, no later than 48 hours prior to the performance, with the number of tickets required and contact email addresses of each attendee for security purposes.

SGCNZ’s Intent

  • Note each potential stage of the event – Regional SGCNZ UOSWSF > National SGCNZ UOSWSF > SGCNZ NSSP > SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company
  • Our intention is to make every stage complete within itself as a fulfilling, enjoyable, enriching and memorable life skills enhancing experience

If you have a question which has not been answered above, please contact SGCNZ.