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Jun 202018

A.J Southey is the latest student from Kuranui College to be selected for the National Schools Shakespeare Production. The production is run by the Shakespeare Globe Community of New Zealand (SGCNZ) and is being held in Dunedin later this year.

AJ And Juanita Web

AJ Southey with Kuranui’s Teacher in Charge of Performing Arts, Juanita McLellan

Over a thousand students from all over the country were up for the award, but only twenty were chosen to attend. Attendees will be given the chance to be picked to perform in the Young Shakespeare Company at the Globe in London next year.

A.J performed Coriolanus at the recent Sheilah Winn Festival of Shakespeare in Schools. The five-minute piece presented him with a challenge. “I liked that Coriolanus wasn’t a hero, he was a grey person, a flawed human being,” explained AJ. “I also liked the thought of a lesser known play and enjoyed exploring the themes and ideas, especially since the organisers had asked for ‘no pixies, fairies or witches’.”

Being selected is the culmination of hard work and on-going passion for the Year 13 student, following in the footsteps of former Kuranui students, Civic Cruz and Tommy Laybourn, who were previously selected. “It’s quite an honour and I’m proud to be part of the tradition,” said A.J.

The week long workshop involves the auditioning, learning of a part, and performing a Shakespeare play on the final day. It also includes other sessions such as Waiata and Kapa Haka training. “I like the thought of giving and receiving manaakitanga, the sharing of my mana with others and allowing them to grow,” he said. “I can’t wait to meet and connect with other people with similar interests, and working with experienced tutors in a supportive atmosphere.”

Shakespeare for A.J is all about the story, even if the words are hard to understand at first. Having this new sense of history and being in this environment, has certainly led A.J to be more willing to tackle new ideas and experiment with new theatrical forms.

Fundraising is being planned to get AJ down south to the Production and then, with fingers crossed over to London.