Tagging along with a group of friends to a Shakespeare festival has payed off dramatically for Ella McIntosh.
The 17-year-old Western Springs College student has been chosen to travel to London’s Globe Theatre to take part in the prestigious Young Shakespeare Company 2017 programme in July.
The Globe Theatre is a reconstruction of the original theatre on the River Thames where many of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed.
Each year 24 Kiwi secondary school actors are selected to from the Young Shakespeare Company where they travel to London to participate in a Globe programme.
But for Ella getting this far was far from her mind.
It began when she joined a group of friends in her year group as a “tag along” for the regional round of the Shelia Winn Shakespeare Festival.
The competition runs throughout the country and involves more than half of New Zealand’s secondary schools.
Performing an excerpt from Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ella said she was pulled into the group last minute and didn’t have any expectations.
“I went into it really just having a casual time with my friends, it wasn’t a competitive mindset at all,” she said.
“I kind of did it just because it’s a chance to dress up with friends and have fun.” But a few days after the performance she was told she was one of 48 from around the country chosen to attend the National Shakespeare Schools Production 2016 in Dunedin.Attending this in October she then received the news she’d been chosen for a place in London.
Ella, whos’ father is British, said she remembered visiting the globe as a six-year-old but having no idea of its significance.
“To be able to go back and have a proper understanding, to stand on that stage again and realise the extremes of it all is quite exciting,” she said.
Acting runs in Ella’s family, her mother being Michelle Leuthart who starred in acclaimed TV show The Almighty Johnsons.
She said growing up she would always help her mother learn lines.
During the two and a half week programme in London in July Ella will work towards a performance of Romeo and Juliet in the Globe Theatre.
“There’s so much history with it which is just extraordinary.”