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Diocesan Gives Modern Day Twist To Shakespeare


Arts: Diocesan Gives Modern Day Twist To Shakespeare

By Emily Kernot – AUT University Journalism Student.

Shakespeare’s works are being revamped with some modern day twists this weekend, as Diocesan School for Girls hold the regional heats for the festival named after the bard.

The Festival of Shakespeare began in 1992 and it is estimated that over 60,000 New Zealand students have been involved since its inception.

The plays are wide and varied says drama teacher, Bess Reynolds, who has been assisting several teams of girls to “get their act together”.


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Victoria Henderson and Stephanie Waterman from Diocesan performing a scene from Romeo and Juliet.


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Stephanie Waterman (as Juliet) and Victoria Henderson (as Juliet's nurse).

Many of the students incorporate the Festival of Shakespeare with their studies, completing drama units, while at the same time having fun.

Victoria Henderson and Stephanie Waterman, both in Year 12, are performing a scene from Act Three of Romeo and Juliet. The students’ say Shakespeare’s plays can be adapted and interpreted easily into present day.

“In modern day plays you can’t really put them in the past, but with Shakespeare you can put it in the future, now, anytime. The themes that he shows are so relevant to everything.”

“I know a lot of people don’t like working with Shakespeare because of the language, but if you can pull off a good scene it’s amazing,” says Victoria.


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Victoria Henderson.


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Victoria Henderson and Stephanie Waterman.

Several schools from the central Auckland area are taking part in the festival and regional heats will be held in 20 other centers around New Zealand in weeks to come.

Performers have strict guidelines to adhere to when participating in the festival. The most common concern is going “overtime” and being disqualified from the National Festival held on Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Approximately 500 students are chosen to perform in Wellington. From this group, around 24 will be selected to travel to the UK at their own expense for a three week tour which includes attending workshops, talkshops and performing on stage at The Globe Theatre.


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Victoria Henderson and Stephanie Waterman.


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Anna Ladd (as Juliet's mother, Lady Capulet) and Alexandra McDonald-Bull (as Juliet) from Diocesan performing a scene from Romeo and Juliet.

The central heats at Diocesan will be judged by well-known New Zealand actress Elizabeth McRae.

McRae, a founding member of the Mercury Theatre Company, shares her advice freely with the students about becoming a professional performer.

“You’ve got to want it but it’s what you can bring to the theatre as much as what the theatre can give to you.”

An awards ceremony will be held at Diocesan School for Girls on Sunday afternoon at the completion of the heats.


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Alexandra McDonald-Bull.


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Anna Ladd and Alexandra McDonald-Bull.


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Anna Ladd and Alexandra McDonald-Bull.

ends

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