A group of four young Nelsonians are heading to the Globe Theatre in London next year after impressing judges while performing in a national Shakespeare production.
Nelson College's Rupert Oakeley, 18, and Matthew Mount, 17, will join Nelson College for Girls' Lydia Peckham, 17, and Aimee Smith, 18, in London for three weeks in July.
The young thespians are among 24 performers in the 2013 Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) Young Shakespeare Company.
Rupert, Matthew and Lydia gained entry to the National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival in Wellington in June via winning regional performances in Nelson in March.
They were then invited to take part in the SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production crafted in Auckland last month, from which 24 students were chosen from a pool of 40 to travel to London.
Aimee won direct entry into the National Shakespeare Schools Production with a five-minute performance she directed in the regional competition with fellow student Jessie Cooper.
Nelson College for Girls drama teacher Kath Mitchell said it was hard to get one student to the Globe Theatre, let alone four from the Nelson region.
"It's an extraordinary achievement. I think all of these young people show exceptional talent," she said.
Rupert, who is off to Victoria University to study commerce, theatre and media next year, said he "giggled like a 12-year-old girl" when he found out he was going.
He said about 5500 students took part in regional Shakespeare competitions, and "to be selected as one of the 24 from those 5500 was really amazing".
Rupert's drama teacher, Luke Walton, is going to the Globe at the same time on a professional development course.
Matthew said he felt humbled to be going, because the level of talent among the people in the National Shakespeare Schools Production was so high.
"I'm just looking forward to working with the same people again. We kind of became a family - one big happy Shakespearean family," he said.
Aimee, who is planning to study English literature at Victoria University next year, said she "freaked out" when she got the good news.
Lydia took part in last year's National Shakespeare Schools Production, and she was determined to "go the whole way" this year.
"I love that Shakespeare was written over 400 years ago, and it's still relevant to today's life," she said.
All four students must raise $8500 each to get to London. Anyone interested in helping them reach their target can email Kath Mitchell at Nelson College for Girls on firstname.lastname@example.org or Luke Walton at Nelson College on email@example.com.
- The Nelson Mail
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