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Apr 142017

Kuranui students tackled the rarely-performed ‘Pericles: The Prince of Tyre’ to win a place in the national finals of the 26th Sheilah Winn Festival of Shakespeare in Schools.

Adapting the Shakespearian drama to fit modern times proved to be a winner for the senior drama students. Alexander Southey (Pericles), Grace Voice (Thaisa), Florence Cater (Marina), Amber Spicer (Diana) and Jessica Buckham (Gower) brought an emotional 15-minute excerpt from the play to life.

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“Part of our concept was to show the differing attitudes towards women within European and Māori culture,” explained Kuranui Drama teacher Juanita McLellan. “The role of Diana was portrayed as the Māori Goddess of Death, Hine-nui-te-pō, and all of Diana’s lines were translated by Whaea Suzanne Murphy into Te Reo Māori.”

The South Wairarapa college hosted this year’s regional competition which included six participating schools and involved a 15-minute teacher-directed scene along with a five-minute student-directed scene.

Kuranui’s entry for the five-minute scene was from ‘Hamlet’.  Starring Thomas Laybourn as Hamlet, and Ophelia played in three parts, by Amber Spicer, Charlotte Penman and Keziah Stonnell, the scene provided honours for two of the students. Thomas came away with the Wairarapa Speech and Drama Association Trophy for Outstanding Delivery of Text and Amber won the award for Outstanding Direction.

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Other awards went to Chanel College for Comedic Moment and Rathkeale College who will join Kuranui at the national finals with a five-minute student-directed scene from ‘Antony and Cleopatra’.

The national finals of the 2017 Sheilah Winn Festival of Shakespeare in Schools will take place between 1-3 June at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington.