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Rangi Ruru Girls School has won the coveted Trans Tasman Trophy at the Norfolk Island Theatre Festival. Rangi’s Director of Theatre Arts, Robert Gilbert was also named Best Director.
The group of ten Year 12 students performed, “Bottom’s Tale”, a 45 minute excerpt from William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Theatre groups from Australia, New Zealand, and Norfolk Island presented ten productions in the festival, with Rangi Ruru the only school group in the competition.
Adjudicator Mark Lee, a celebrated director and actor best known for his role alongside Mel Gibson in the film Gallipoli, was glowing in his praise of “Bottom’s Tale”.
“The students from Rangi Ruru Girls’ School “… performed with innovative gusto… [and] the wonderful use of puppetry and masks to heighten the supernatural elements” set the production apart. “This production way an absolute joy to have witnessed and been entertained by,” he said.
Robert Gilbert says he has a very excited group of girls on his hands at the moment and he is incredibly proud of their achievement.
“They poured their hearts and souls into this production and this tremendous award comes to them through bucket-loads of skill, determination and passion,” he says.
Fresh from exams and school camp, the girl’s quickly put together two performances for family and friends on the last two days of school term as a lead up to the festival. Many of the other productions had already had seasons of up to three weeks before making the journey to Norfolk Island for their first ever theatre festival.
This is only the second school group to win the trophy; the first was Aranui High School in 2007 and Gilbert says this is easily the youngest group to have ever won it.
The week-long festival consisted of workshops, rehearsals and performances at The Ferny Lane Theatre. Masks were designed and created by renowned Christchurch designer, Julian Southgate.