Helen Drysdale-Dunn is thrilled to be one of 24 students selected from Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand’s National Shakespeare Schools Production (SGCNZ NSSP). She was chosen from 5000 students in the 24 Regional and National SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festivals (SGCNZ UOSWSF).

A Year 12 student, Helen has been involved in local Dramatic Society and Musical Theatre productions such as Cinderella, The Jazz Club, Rome Sweet Rome and Dusty, The Original Pop Diva.  This year Helen, alongside fellow Matamata College performer Emily Nowell, also won the Most Thought Provoking Performance Award by (the late) Sheilah Winn and SGCNZ and the Outstanding Music/Song Award donated by Morrison Music Trust.

Having already enjoyed what she describes as a ‘life-changing experience’ at SGCNZ NSSP, a week-long intensive of workshops, rehearsals and culminating performances, Helen and the other members of SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company will travel to the UK in July next year. There they will spend two weeks at Shakespeare’s Globe where they will have sessions taken by highly acclaimed tutors and a director who will rehearse them in an hour-long version of a Shakespeare play, which will be performed in a late night performance on the Globe stage. Backstage and front of house tours of the Globe, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the Rose, the National, Royal Albert Hall and a Shakespeare ‘orienteering’ course are included in their London programme, as well as attending performances there.

The troupe moves on to Stratford Upon Avon for the final four days for more Shakespeare tours, performances and visits to historic buildings in the area.

Whilst many participants do follow careers in the arts, the skills learnt are completely transferable and valuable in any workplace. Each student has the formidable task of raising some $9250. However, the value to them is immeasurable.