AJ Southey, left, and Jackson Burling standing in front of a Shakespeare mural in London. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

EMMA BROWN
emma.brown@age.co.nz

Last month Shakespeare took two Wairarapa students half a world away to the Globe Theatre, London, after they were chosen as members of Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ Young Shakespeare company.

Wairarapa College student Jackson Burling and former Kuranui College student Alexander [AJ] Southey were selected along with 22 other students from around New Zealand to take part in a three-week course in England, specifically devised for them.

Kuranui teacher Juanita McLellan also got to take part in the trip as one of the chaperones.

The group spent 20 days at the Globe, where they attended workshops and also got to perform of the world-famous Globe stage.

The experience confirmed a few things for Southey.

“The trip to London was absolutely amazing,” he said.

“The experience was invaluable, an absolute eye-opener and definitely a solidifier for what I want to invest my time in and the rest of my life to – theatre and the power to tell stories.

“The best experience would have to be performing Hallelujah in te reo Maori for the group and being on the Globe stage at midnight performing Henry V.

“The energy and love felt when performing those two things was just electric, just the feelings those two places have, you can recreate those things.”

Burling said the experience was “hard to put into words”.

He said he will not forget one of the messages emphasised by the tutors.

They told the group to forget about the expectation that they must be the best – “You are enough, don’t think that you cannot achieve things or need to be better.”

Southey agreed with the sentiment.

“I think that’s something pretty sacred to bring back, especially to bring back here to New Zealand and Wairarapa.”

McLellan said it was special to see the group of students grow.

“They stepped up to the challenge, and it was certainly a challenging programme of 12-hour days.”

Public support was also found a long way from home with 2018 Waicol head girl Lizzie Bysouth coming along to the performance to support the pair.

McLellan had a message for future students wanting to be selected for this opportunity.

“Have faith that your schools have the ability to get your skills to the level required … but work on your co-operative skills and ability to work in a team.

“As a region, we have sent so many students to the Globe because our standard of performance is so high.”