All the world's a stage for Fletcher Oxford – or at least, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London will be, when he joins 23 other young New Zealanders there in July.
The Tauranga Boys' College student has been selected as a member of the 2018 Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Young Shakespeare Company, which gives him a chance to perform with the rest of the company in the UK.
Fletcher was chosen after impressing judges at the Bay of Plenty regionals of the SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival last year.
“I was given direct entry to the shortlist of 48 students, which included a ticket to watch the nationals down at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington,” he says.
“It's an absolute honour. In previous years I had entered and watched other direct entry students receive that award and thought how prestigious it was. It was something I'd always wanted to get.”
That direct entry put the 17-year-old with 47 others on an intensive 10-day programme down in Wellington, which both prepared the students for the trip to London, while providing judges with an opportunity to whittle the numbers down to the final 24.
“We did a lot of work, including learning a 40-minute script in less than five days,” says Fletcher. “We also attended several courses by people within the industry on things like stage combat, the history of Shakespeare, and the ways it can be performed.”
At the end of the programme the students gave a performance. Based on how they went during the entire process, half of them were selected for the final company, with Fletcher making the cut.
In July he and the rest of the company will head to the UK to work with internationally-recognised Shakespearean actors and directors, and they will also perform at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.
Fletcher says Shakespeare can sometimes be misunderstood, or perceived as ‘boring' by people who haven't studied him.
“But once you get into the language and understand what it means, some of it is really hilarious. I love how it can be performed in many different ways.”
In order to get to London, Fletcher is also doing some fundraising. A special screening of new movie ‘Finding Your Feet' will be held at Rialto Cinema on Thursday February 22 at 8.30pm, with proceeds going towards Fletcher's trip.
To book a ticket, email email@example.com or phone 02102225671.