Hero photograph
Shakespeare Competition
Photo by Otago Daily Times

Drama Department Report

Sarah Spicer —

This year we have been very busy with many new and exciting projects. 

We started the year with a bang, as four NZQA scholarships were awarded to the fabulous drama students. This is amazing and highlights the dedication that they have all put into preparing for the intense examination. Pippi Miller who is now studying at Otago University was awarded an NZQA Drama scholarship in addition to the Otago University Performance Scholarship. Some of the students got scholarship a year early! Well done to Oscar LaDell, Ava Straw, and Ruari Warren.  Luke Major was also awarded an Otago University Performance Scholarship.

Following on from this success we are celebrating Otago University Performance Scholarships in 2017 for Bruno Willis, Sophia Hilton-Manning, Ella Yianett and Reva Grills. Well done and good luck with your studies next year.

Two of our students headed off to The Globe in London as representatives of New Zealand. Luke Major and Jim Robinson worked very hard to fundraise before embarking on the adventure of a life time. They spent time in London, Stratford Upon Avon and Hong Kong. We were very proud to see them on the stage and know that they represented the school in line with our core values.

Shakespeare has been an area that we have seen further success this year but in different new and exciting categories. Bruno Willis won the Supreme Costume Award in the National Festival and went on to costume three productions in Dunedin. His amazing costumes have been mentioned in the reviews and he was praised for the acting role he took as well. He has now been chosen as a 2017 representative of New Zealand and will be on his way to The Globe, London next year. Congratulations to Bruno and good luck with fundraising. We didn't sop there, keen to get more involved in the SGCNZ competitions Florence Sorrel and Leah Cooke-McDonnell entered the essay writing competition. They did a fabulous job taking two of the top three prizes. Florence was crowned the overall champion and Leah Cooke-McDonnell took third place. This is a fantastic achievement as entries came from all over New Zealand. We are keen to build on this success and hope to enter even more categories next year.

One Act Plays saw Logan Park shine and Harrison Kennedy and Kahu Iti clinched the best Technical Award for Otago and Southland. The performance of Ache by Pip Hall was directed by Holly Cannon and starred Ava Straw, Tia Hibbert, Reva Grills and Ella Yiannett. It was a privilege to be able to perform the work of former student Pip Hall.

We also had our first international premier. Working with the Arts Festival, students starred in Beyond the Bright Black Edge of Nowhere. An amazing achievement and they received rave reviews and great audiences. 

Students were spoiled for choice with visits to the Fortune Theatre seeing a range of plays from New Zealand classics to classics of tomorrow. Huge thanks to Shannon Colbert and the Fortune Theatre ambassadors, Tia Hibbert and Ella Yiannett. Over 100 students and staff attended each play and we look forward to the new season by Jonathan Hendry.

Looking forward we are delighted to be involved in The Fringe Festival in March 2017, as part of a project called Strange Echoes of the Dunedin Sound. We will be busy in the Shakespeare Festival, One Act Play Festival and many more experiences. As Junior Show sees the end of our year, we are reminded how lucky we are to have such talented and committed students.