By DAVID HILL
PA Rangiora student is escaping the Canterbury winter to perform in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale in London.
Elliott Andrews is one of 24 young New Zealanders flying out on July 6 with the Young Shakespeare Company (YSC) for an intensive three-week workshop in London which will end in a performance of the bard’s play in the Globe Theatre.
“It’s going to be a really good time. It really is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Elliott says.
“Just to be in the Globe Theatre will be amazing. I understand the New Zealand YSC and a United States group are the only overseas groups which get to use that stage, so it’s very exclusive and it will certainly look good on my acting CV.”
Participants will learn about voicing Shakespeare and stage combat.
Elliott says the selection process was long, beginning with the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival Canterbury regional competition last year, where Elliott teamed with Seraphina Stringer to win the student-directed category.
The pair went on to compete in the National Shakespeare Festival at Queen’s Birthday Weekend last year.
From more than 5000 young actors who competed in regional competitions, 500 attended the National Shakespeare Festival, with 48 selected for the National Shakespeare Schools’ Production workshop held in October, where the final 24 were chosen for London.
“It’s one week a year where it’s cool to like Shakespeare and when you come off stage you feel like a rockstar,” Elliott recalls of his experience of performing in the National Shakespeare Festival.
Last year was the first time Rangiora New Life School had entered the regional contest.
“It reflects the coming of age of our school that we have the critical mass to do these things,” principal Stephen Walters says. “I think we are starting to see we are able to do these things that small schools struggle with and the students are putting their hands up and the talent shows through.”
Elliott is in Year 13. He plans to go to university next year to study business and hopes to do some acting. “It’s about being at the right place at the right time with acting. I think everyone wants to be a movie star, but it’s about finding what’s best for you and taking your opportunities.”
The trip is costing $8000 and he has received two scholarships through the Hartley School of Performing Arts. He is saving money from his tutoring job. He also has an online fundraising campaign at boosted.org.nz/projects/sgcnz-young-shakespeare-company.