By Emma Bradfield | Posted: Wednesday November 16, 2022

Congratulations to our thespians who won Otago regional honours - Best Ensemble and Excellence in Acting Awards.

Read Emma Bradfield's report below:

Theatrefest is a national drama competition, comprised of three sections; local, regional, and national. This year, 2 Logan Park teams competed.

Ruby Hart and Sersha Forde performed a devised piece called ‘Lady Macbeth stanz Kim K’ which they described as ‘a small piece using text from Shakespeare, other sources, as well as our own writing, telling of the varied experiences of women growing with their femininity.’ Their piece was incredibly well constructed, and featured both girls in simple dresses, creating the performance through just their bodies and voices.

Emma Bradfield, Bram Casey, Seb Cumming, Riley Macintosh, and Maria Ocheretyana performed their devised ensemble piece ‘Thinking of Thebes,’ which explored media manipulation and power dynamics through the lens of the ancient Greek play ‘Antigone.’ At the local level, Maria was unable to compete, so the rest of the group had to work quickly to adapt the piece to fit four people instead of five. This reconstruction was done in under a week, and meant the group could still perform, even with one less person.

The local competition took place at the Playhouse Theatre, and was adjudicated by Bryan Aitken, a prominent member of the New Zealand theatre scene for several decades.

The ‘Thinking of Thebes’ group progressed through to the regional section of the competition, along with four other Dunedin groups.

For the regional competition, tragedy struck again when Riley, who played King Creon for the majority of the piece, was unable to come to Arrowtown. Having done it once before, the group worked quickly to adapt the piece to make up for the loss of Riley, this time doing it in just two days, rehearsing outside in Arrowtown, surrounded by the mountains. Despite this rapid turn around, in Arrowtown, up against the 8 best teams from the lower South Island, ‘Thinking of Thebes’ won the award for ‘Best Ensemble’ and Emma Bradfield won an ‘Excellence in Acting’ award. They performed in the Arrowtown Athenaeum, and had the chance to meet and socialize with the actors from other groups, as well as exploring a bit of Arrowtown.

The regional level was adjudicated by Hilary Norris, a highly regarded New Zealand actress and voice coach, who put ‘Thinking of Thebes’ and another Dunedin group ‘Covid Club,’ through to the national level of the competition.

The group traveled to Wellington for four days, in the midst of practice exams, and got the chance to compete against the best 8 teams from across the country, performing on the same stage used by Toi Whakaari, the New Zealand drama school. The national competition was adjudicated by Steven Arnold, a Theatrefest executive.

Unfortunately, ‘Thinking of Thebes’ did not win any national awards, but for the first time in the competition, they managed to perform their piece with their full cast, which was awesome.

While in Wellington, the group got to attend an acting/directing workshop with Lara Mcgregor, a top New Zealand theater practitioner, and explore Wellington, including a visit to Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum.

All in all, it was a very successful Theatrefest year for Logan Park. 

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