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Tauranga Shakespeare Festival Returns

Thanks to CRAFT Management Charitable Trust, the Tauranga Shakespeare Festival returns on Sunday 21st April at The Historic Village.

The Historic Village will host the day-long festival, which includes various Shakespearean and Medieval activities that is free to attend.

The festival was initially launched to reintroduce Shakespeare performances to the community and offer collaborative opportunities.

Creative Director, Harry Oram, says the festival was driven by a desire to fill a cultural and educational gap left by the cessation of traditional summer Shakespeare performances due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At CRAFT, we recognised a chance to reinvigorate the community’s connection with classical literature and live theatre through a new festival,” says Oram. “It was also a great opportunity to introduce fresh faces and innovative approaches to Shakespearean storytelling.”

“We focus on collaboration and aim to harness and showcase the diverse talent within Tauranga and Western Bay.”

Attendees will be able to see performances of Shakespearean shows, experience music from the Elizabethan period, and witness choreographed fighting for films and theatre. Crafts and activities will also be available to try.

The Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund (TWBCEF) supported the festival with a $7,500 community event grant to ensure its accessibility to the community with no entry fees.

The fund is a partnership between local funders Acorn Foundation, BayTrust, TECT, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council with the core purpose of supporting community-led events and those that encourage participation for free or at low-cost.

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Alongside the festival being free to attend and showcasing a time period many would not be familiar with, attendees can also join in on competitions for the Most Creative Costume, Best Copy of Shakespeare’s Image and a Monologue Competition with a cash prize!

BayTrust Chief Executive Alastair Rhodes says CRAFT have a vision to make Shakespeare’s work more available and relevant to modern audiences, which is great to see.

Nelita Byrne, Venues and Events Manager of Tauranga City Council says the Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund sees significant value in the efforts CRAFT is making to connect and engage the wider community with the rich experience of live theatre and the arts.

“It is fitting the festival is being held in The Historic Village - a one-of-a-kind place in our city that celebrates diversity, uniqueness and quality experiences.

We’re looking forward to celebrating Tauranga’s artistic spirit as the festival brings Shakespeare’s magic to life in our creative, community hub, ” says Byrne.

This year’s festival will also include a partnership with 16th Avenue Theatre to present Macbeth from April 15th to 23rd. Macbeth will see one of the largest casts to date for 16th Avenue Theatre as they run eight shows throughout April.

Festival Details:

Tauranga Shakespeare Festival

Sunday 21st April 2024

The Historic Village, 159 17th Avenue West, Tauranga South, Tauranga 3143


10:00 am

Opening Ceremony with Maypole Dancing

Art Gallery Opens with “Shakespeare Unplugged” (Open all day)

10:30 am

Stalls and Market Opens incl variety of Shakespearean and Medieval Stalls, activities, riddles, food and drinks

Kids’ Costume Corner

11:00 am

Games on the Green (Skittles and Hobby Horse)

New Zealand Stage and Screen Combat School – Archery and Axe Throwing (Additional fee)

New Zealand Stage and Screen Combat School Medieval Combat Demonstration

12:00 pm Midday

Poetry Workshop with Jenny Argante at the Village Cinema (Additional fee)

Elizabeth Bring-Your-Own Picnic at The Incubator Creative Hub

2:30 pmScreening of “Shakespeare in Love” at the Village Cinema
3:30 pmMonologue Competition at the Amphitheatre (Cash Prize)
4:30 pm – 6:30 pmVarious performances of dance, theatre and music at the Amphitheatre

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