A new take on Sheilah Winn Shakespeare

COVID-19 put an interesting spin on Sheilah Winn Shakespeare competition performances this year. With scenes almost ready to go before lockdown, we didn’t know if it was going to be possible to finish and perform them. On return to school, it became a question of whether we would like to submit a video of our Shakespeare scenes for the competition instead. Many of our school’s Shakespeare directors decided to push the experience back a year with the hope of performing them live in 2021. However, as a Year 13 student, this was my last chance to direct and take part. We continued with rehearsals until we were ready to submit the perfect performance. A few weeks later we filmed our scene, complete with full hair, costumes and stage lights. We submitted the video to Shakespeare Globe New Zealand and are now anticipating the results.

Directing a scene for the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare competition provides a great platform and opportunity to put your vision into a creative outlet and portray your message and truth. This is one of my passions and I really wanted to flip Shakespeare’s works on its head and have a strong female character own her story and stage.  It’s true, that despite taking part in Sheilah Winn, I have never particularly liked Shakespeare’s works. I’m just not a big fan of his characters because as a female actress, I felt that if I wanted to play a good character that had depth and a real story to tell, I would have to play a male. I believe very few of Shakespeare’s female characters have agency over their own stories.

This year, I took the opportunity to co-direct ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, with fellow student Mikayla Robson. This is one of Shakespeare’s plays that can easily have a feminist adaption. In our five minute performance, we showcased the main character of Katerina (portrayed by Year 9 student, Paige Sweetman) having agency over her decisions, and who she has a relationship with.

 – Amelia Claridge, Deputy Head Girl


The Shelia Winn Shakespeare competition has been a big part of my Long Bay College experiences as I have participated for all five years at the school. For three of them I acted and for the other two, I directed my own scenes. It is always a great opportunity; to learn more about Shakespeare’s works and make great friendshipsI can tell you now, any student who has ever auditioned for the competition knows the Mid Somers Night Dream monologue off by heart; “And even for that do I love you more….”

I believe there is no better way to learn Shakespeare works than to act in them; talking a piece of theatre that is hundreds of years old, originally shown in Tudor times; being able to put a modern interpretation on it and seeing how it still relates to modern society.  

– Tace Chapman, Head Girl

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