In 2018, we hosted schools participating in SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival.

It was a full day of rehearsals leading up to an evening performance. It was a rich experience for us hosting, performing, stage managing, doing lighting as well as having two performance groups. The prefects organised refreshments, such as fresh baking. Other students ran errands, directed traffic, and did innumerable tasks. Excellent teamwork.

All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.

So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo! (1.3.53;70-71)

A strong, scary group of junior students portrayed witches by using physical theatre ensemble techniques. The midnight hags challenged Macbeth. The cast wore forbidding black, very gothic grunge outfits designed by Ms Ashlin Raymond who was a teacher intern and Samantha Rogers added to the aesthetic with her makeup concept. The cohesive chorus work earned the team an award for “best ensemble performance”.

For the first time we had a student-directed scene led by Amy Woerman. The first meeting between Romeo [Alyssa Wright] and Juliet [ Amy] was sweetly portrayed with a touch of humour from the servant, Shawn Burke [awarded “best comic moment’]. Mercedes was the mean Lady Capulet, Hannah-Mae the glowering Lord Capulet and Bella Williamson the sweetly ditzy Nurse. This was an energetic, charming scene with great timing and sympathetic characterisation.

From Level 3 NCEA, we enjoyed scenes from A Midsummer’s Night Dream as Bottom [Ariana Reti] and Quince [Kowhai Green] argued about casting their play and Hermia [Aubrey Uri] and Helena [Christine Arrabis] argued about the young man they both wanted. Both scenes were charmingly performed with rich characterisation and emotion. As Helena said “Oh, when you get her angry, she’s a good fighter, and vicious too. She was a hellcat in school. And she’s fierce, even though she’s little.