A ‘Stella’ Shakespeare Showcase

Playing the character ‘Nurse’, Sharin Shaik will put up with director and actor Stella Cooke’s romantic woes in her role as Juliet. Photo: John Borren.

Returning to Tauranga after living in Wellington for two years, theatre-lover Stella was confused when she realized Shakespeare shows had vanished!

Sitting herself in the director’s chair, the 21-year-old has turned this around by putting together a Shakespeare showcase in honour of the infamous playwright’s birthday this Saturday.

At the age of 13, Stella was involved in the Summer Shakespeare Tauranga group for three years. Since then she has continued ‘studying different Shakespeare plays, different scenes and skits’.
Coming back from Wellington and her ‘acting hiatus’ in 2020, Stella says she “decided that there’s no Shakespeare here [in Tauranga] and I need to make it happen!”

The show will feature selected Shakespeare scenes such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer’s Night Dream and more.

“I’ve worked closely with each individual actor to make sure that we bring out not only the best in these characters but also the best in themselves,” says Stella.
She will take this directorial wisdom on herself, as Stella will also star in the show as the beloved Juliet.

The show’s costumes have been unleashed from Tauranga’s Tarnished Frocks and Divas arsenal.

“We were really lucky to get access to their wardrobe and use that as our costumes,” says Stella. Tracy Cooke, Fashion Designer and Stella’s stylish mum has also taken the reigns with costume direction.
“Her and I have been working together to create these big fantasy costumes,” says Stella. Be sure to catch these Shakespearean showstoppers!

Keeping with Shakespeare tradition, the show will be performed outdoors.
This will “give a little nod to Shakespeare on his birthday and that just seems like the icing on the cake for me,” says Stella.

The young director gives special mention to assistant director/Shakespeare enthusiast, Harry Oram and producer Elizabeth Oram who have helped make this Shakespeare spectacle happen.

“My hope is that this show will show people that Shakespeare themes are still relevant,” says Stella
“The human behaviors we exhibit, they’re never changing, but the context and reasoning for those behaviors may change throughout history.”

Completely free, the show will be held today Saturday April 23 at Coronation Park, Mount Manganui, with live music from 1pm and the show starting at 2pm.

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1 Comment


Posted on 23-04-2022 14:01 | By morepork

As a lover of the English Language it is a special treat to see Shakespeare performed on "the green" and the Summer performances at the Historic Village are always on my list. I can’t be at the Mount today, but I wish them every success and an entertaining time for all. It is sad to see the withdrawal of Shakespeare from English curricula in many schools, but the world (and language) moves on. I still remember reading "Julius Caesar" when I was 12 and realizing that, although it was written over 420 years ago, the characters are as real and as recognizable today as the people we interact with and know. It makes my day to know that a young person has organized this, from the same love that I feel for the works.

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