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I attended a wonderful, powerful performance by Pare and Ari at the Māoriland Hub recently. Congratulations are in order.

This team is the latest iteration in a long tradition of outstanding Shakespeare performances by Ōtaki College and Ōtaki pupils. How did this all start?

In 2001, two Ōtaki College students were performing with a Kāpiti theatre group where they were tutored by Mary Singleton. Mary asked if they did Shakespeare at Ōtaki College. The question and interest was reported back to Graham Baumgart, head of English, who invited Mary to get involved at the college.

In her first year, Mary took Charlotte Chadwick and Serena Richards to the Sheila Winn regional festival. Many years later Serena secured a year-long position with a Shakespeare troupe touring and performing in schools in Italy. Many others at college had their first taste of The Bard’s work, laying the foundations for future successes.

The following year, Scott Robertson and Renee Cataldo performed The Taming of the Shrew to widespread acclaim at both the regional and national Shakespeare finals.

Darcy Edwards, Shay Evans and later Marc Garrity were the next stars. Then Juliet Kane and Tua Fa’avale went all the way to the Globe Theatre in London.

Long history of Ōtaki performances


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