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St Oran's College

Region: Wellington

Art form: Theatre

Project name: Korero Hekipia - Talking Shakespeare

Creative name

Project information: A collaborative new work using whakawhanaungatanga through the devising process to bring together the voices of ākonga from four Wellington colleges. Shakespeare’s women will be our starting point. Working with the plays Richard III and Macbeth, ākonga will reflect their own stories of power and powerlessness, find responses to injustices, and explore how they fit into the world of Aotearoa today as rangatahi. The tikanga of the mahi will embody manaakitanga - inclusive, respectful of culture, identity, and different perspectives - revealing the ways in which drama can connect, heal, educate, and entertain. 

Using improvisation, character, and writing exercises, we will dig into who we are. What do we most need to say? How healthy are our relationships? Where does our power lie and what holds us back in life? The focus will be on encouraging student voice and the wairua associated with being heard and connecting with others and ourselves – a sense of whanaungatanga. Focusing through the lens of Shakespeare and the past allows for a creative way to explore the present, as in the whakataukī ‘Ka mua, ka muri’ - walking backwards into the future. Playing with the idea of female roles traditionally being played by men and questioning how the female characters interact with the male characters in the plays will open up conversations. Students will be encouraged to explore ideas around mental health, gender, healthy relationships, and sense of self. 

Ākonga will work with an actor/writer/director to create the work. A lighting designer will give workshops around lighting design, working with ākonga to create the final design for the performance. Students will have the opportunity to talk with a programming manager at a Wellington theatre about their role in programming and the Arts. Access to this experienced group of artists will open career pathways for the students. 

The finished piece will comprise of student-devised scenes and excerpts from Shakespeare, threaded together with a narrative created by the creative, reflecting the discussions and voice of the ākonga. Each performance will end by inviting kōrero and sharing kai. Although the material will be developed in four individual schools, the final performance will bring all the students together to create one new work - embodying kotahitanga. Students and teachers will connect and learn from each other. The local theatre is supporting the project by allowing the students to perform this new work in a short season at the theatre.

Project starting: May 2022

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