Outstanding Performances at Sheilah Winn Festival

01 Jul 2020

Well this year was somewhat of a first for the Sheilah Winn festival which was meant to be held on 4 April 2020, at BDSC. Obviously the Lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic had not read the events calendar – and unfortunately caused a bit of trouble in terms of theatre making and theatre going for our festival and all the students who are involved in the festival, both regionally and nationally, each year.

However, SGCNZ UOSWF was put out but not shutdown. And as all good thespians know ‘the show must go on’ come hell, highwater or deadly disease. The organisation put a working plan in order so that all the performances that were going to go ahead could do so under controlled conditions, with each school entering their pieces via video. The biggest challenge for the schools who took part was revisiting work that had not been touched during Lockdown, and re-jigging other commitments so that useful rehearsal could take place in order to be ready for the recording of the performed works. The deadline for upload of the submissions was 15 June 2020, but just to be safe and in juggling everyone’s school and after school commitments, BDSC’s performances were filmed live on Wednesday 10 June, in front of a small but enthusiastic audience. The two productions which were submitted for judging by the regional assessors Dr. J. I Luton and Ms J. Sicely, were a teacher directed 15 minute version of Hamlet and a student directed 5 minute version of Macbeth.

The Hamlet extract was directed by Ms J Hood, Head of Drama and in the extract Hamlet played by three actors Ella Vuksanlekaj, Missy Sellwood and Jessica Dixon was struggling with the news of his mother’s remarriage, and the ghost (his dead father) was asking him to revenge his murder, and his relationship was falling apart… basically this is not a good time to be Hamlet.

The Macbeth extract was directed by Jake Fanstone 13 B7 and in this scene Macbeth meets Macduff for a final showdown, and the witch takes another opportunity to manipulate the two men once more.

Originally the regional festival was going to be our largest yet, and we hope that all schools will be able to take part next year. Although fewer schools took part in the live video submission there was a high level of commitment from all the performers and the judges were extremely impressed with the work of the students and teachers who had supported their efforts. The two winning performances a 15 minute extract and a 5 minute extract will take part in a National E – Festival of SGCNZ UOSWF, and at this festival there will be final judgements made about who will represent their school and region at the National School Shakespeare Performance later in the year.

Representing Botany Downs Secondary College in the 15 minute extract of Hamlet were:
Soldier 1/Ghost/Horatio: Millie Sutton 12B7
Soldier 3/Ghost/Ophelia: Tyla Sutton 9B1
Soldier 2/Ghost: Shruti Sureshkumar 10B1
King Claudius: Muriahua Pahi   11B7
Queen Gertrude: Mila Velkjovic  11E8
Hamlet 1: Ella Vuksanlekaj 10J11
Hamlet 2: Missy Sellwood 11E8
Hamlet 3: Jessica Dixon 11S4

Representing Botany Downs Secondary College in the 5 minute extract of Macbeth were:
Macbeth: Jake Fanstone 13B7
Macduff: Tanishq Ranjith 13E2
The Witch: Shalom DeSouza 12E14

Regional Awards received by Botany Downs Secondary College 2020

Overall winners of the 5 minute student directed piece for SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Festival, Auckland South and East – and going forward to the National Festival for 2020.

Macbeth Act V Sc Viii
Student Director: – Jake Fanstone

“an exciting, energetic scene with some thrilling effective choices –it is utterly compelling…..

The Witch – your focus and energy throughout and agility adds to the menace in the scene

Macduff – sustains and delivers an energetic and controlled performance

Macbeth – This is a mature and compelling performance.”

CERTIFICATE AWARDS received by Botany Downs Secondary College for SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Festival, Auckland South and East: –

Best ensemble Hamlet
Best use of sound technologies – Hamlet
Most compelling ensemble performance – Ghosts in Hamlet

an outstanding piece of work. The chorus, ensemble and use of technology to create a hair raising atmosphere is superb. It was dramatically exciting with a controlled use of voice, body, movement and space.”

The Most compelling performance by a Male – performing the role of Macbeth Jake Fanstone – Jake’s performance was described as  “a virtuoso performance”

The success the students achieved came from their determination and resilience, and a desire to see the performances through to the end. It was a pleasure to work with such committed students, and we look forward to the National E Festival at the beginning of August.

~ J E Hood, Head of Drama Learning area, Regional Rep SGCNZ UOSWF Auckland South and East


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