The magic of theatre

25 Jun 2019

A fleeting trip to Auckland saw 55 Year 11–13 drama students travelling through space and time to Shakespeare’s Globe and the trenches of World War One.

First, the boys were treated to a tour of the Pop-up Globe (PuG) in Ellerslie, the world’s first full-scale temporary working replica of Shakespeare’s second Globe Theatre, and one of Auckland’s most popular theatres.

“It’s a truly remarkable space,” says Year 13 student Ryan Oorschot. “Standing there, imagining the audience surrounding you, it feels more intimate and personal than a standard stage.”

Old Boy and PuG Senior Assistant Director Eddie Bijl and actress Ripeka Templeton showed the group around – and, as the setting could not be more apt, several Year 12 students took the opportunity to deliver the Elizabethan monologues they have been working on. All the boys appreciated the direction Eddie gave to help them make their work more effective.

Year 12 student Ben Davis explains, “He told everyone they should focus on someone in the audience and channel that person’s energy to lift their performance. It makes it so much more interesting if you can personalise it, and it’s something actors in Shakespeare’s time would have done.”

From the Globe, the group headed to the Civic Theatre to see War Horse. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, the British National Theatre’s powerful, inventive and astonishing drama takes its audience from the bucolic fields of Devon, England, to the horrors of the war in France.

“It was amazing, really impressive,” says Ryan. “It was loud and bright and kind of shocking – and we really got into it. We were on the edge of our seats throughout the entire performance.”

“The technology, the sound and lighting effects, the techniques the actors used, with voice, body and language combined to extraordinary effect, and the mastery of the puppeteers – it felt as if we were watching real horses on stage. It was totally immersive, incredible and unforgettable,” says Ben.

Drama – the theatre – brings actors, crew and audience together to create works that not only entertain, but also provide some insight into the human experience. This one inspirational day in Auckland, on Sunday 23 June, highlights the importance of storytelling to inform and enrich our lives.