A life-changing experience for young students with Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand

  Our Young Shakespeare Company is an annual programme celebrating the wealth of artistic talent of young students in New Zealand

4 minute read

Running for 23 years, our Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Young Shakespeare Company is an annual programme celebrating the wealth of artistic talent of young students in Aotearoa.

Students from a variety of educational programmes ran by SGCNZ are selected to form the Young Shakespeare Company to travel from New Zealand to Shakespeare’s Globe in a life-changing experience to further learn from our Shakespearean expertise. After the pandemic brought a saddened momentary halt to this programme, this year our 2022 cohort comprised an incredible 44 members, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to welcome these talented individuals to our Bankside home.

Our Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Young Shakespeare Company is an annual programme celebrating the wealth of artistic talent of young students in Aotearoa. Photography: Memory of Light

Over a course of two weeks, students attended workshops, tours and rehearsals alongside leading Directors, culminating in two performances, along with songs, a Waiata and Haka. This year, our Young Shakespeare Company staged two 50 minute productions of Shakespeare’s tragedies King Lear and Julius Caesar, directed by Jonathan Woolf and Emma Manton respectively.

King Lear performed by the group ‘Serpents Tooth’, featured a kapa haka – a traditional Māori group dance – representing the iconic storm on the heath. In Julius Caesar, the participants also actively contributed to the show’s design, creating their own props and costumes.

The performance concluded with the entire cohort of 44 students coming together for a profoundly affecting performance of a waiata and a haka, celebrating Māori culture and tradition.

‘Our performance of Julius Caesar was invigorating and exciting, not least due to the stage on which we were performing it. Being in the Globe Theatre was truly humbling, a gorgeous space soaked in history and tradition. It was an honour I would never in a million years have expected to be bestowed upon me – even now it feels like something unreal, too good to be true. I really cannot describe the feeling of standing on that stage, the wood vibrating beneath my feet, the Globe wrapping around me from all corners of my vision. It was an experience unlike anything I’ve felt before.’

— George Kenward Parker, Young Shakespeare Company participant

This year, our Young Shakespeare Company staged two 50 minute productions of Shakespeare’s tragedies King Lear and Julius Caesar. Photography: Memory of Light

For all, the ‘magic’ of performing in our wooden ‘O’ is a treasured memory forever. The benefits of ‘direct address’ in shared light of the audience is a highly valued skill, applicable for the frequently performed performances in site specific environments in New Zealand, as well as in theatres and in general life in other careers. This prestigious opportunity is the pinnacle for which students through New Zealand aspire, some beginning their journey in SGCNZ’s Primarily Playing with Shakespeare programme for 5-13 year olds. SGCNZ Alum grace stages and big and small screens nationally and internationally, behind the scenes in every capacity, including mocap, in Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, front of house, in PR, costume and set design and construction, music composition, design of posters, and so much more.

‘We stood in a circle, and got to know the space. Then we individually walked under the ‘energy place’ in the entrance. Glynn told us that “If you bring your truth, and hope, and humanity, and soul, it will carry you and you will fly.” It is easy to see why Glynn is known as the ‘heart’. It was such a rush to walk out on the stage to start our performance. The Globe stage itself felt alive.’

— Melissa Uren, Young Shakespeare Company participant

The performance concluded with the entire cohort of 44 students coming together for a profoundly affecting performance of a waiata and a haka, celebrating Māori culture and tradition. Photography: Memory of Light

Founded in 1991, Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) has seen more than 140,000 people participate in educational programmes nationwide over the past 31 years; 1,168 have been selected to attend SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production; 613 have been chosen to go to the Globe as members of SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company (SGCNZ YSC), and nearly 7,000 have been involved in other programmes.

Fostering an approach to Shakespeare that actively encourages participation that transcends social boundaries, SGCNZ’s vision is to transform lives by mentoring potential through experiencing Shakespeare, and as they look to the year ahead their mission will be no different. 2023 will see 24 young people selected from SGCNZ National Festivals attend a two-week residency at the Globe in August, and also the revival of the Teachers Go Global programme, providing an adjacent teacher training and enrichment programme for New Zealand teachers.

SGCNZ’s vision is to transform lives by mentoring potential through experiencing Shakespeare. Photography: Memory of Light

FINIS.


Shakespeare’s Globe Centre New Zealand’s vision is to transform lives by mentoring potential through experiencing Shakespeare. Discover more about their work and this programme.