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‘A canon of imperialism’ – Creative NZ cancels funding for schools Shakespeare festival

Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival news

The Sheilah Winn Shakespeare festival has been running for about 30 years and receives around $30,000 in funding from Creative NZ each year.

But not this year. In a recent decision Creative NZ cancelled the funding, questioning the relevance of Shakespeare’s works because it focuses on a ‘canon of imperialism’.

According to a report in the UK Guardian, the festival is ‘…a secondary school competition where students perform excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays.’

‘Students are given the scope to direct, compose music, perform and create sets and costumes for their show. It has been a popular event, with more than 120,000 high school students from more than half the country’s secondary schools having participated in the festival since its inception.’

One assessor questioned ‘whether a singular focus on an Elizabethan playwright is most relevant for a decolonising Aotearoa in the 2020s and beyond.’

Dawn Sanders, CEO of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand which organises the festival was ‘dismayed by the decision.’

She told the Guardian:

‘Creative New Zealand say it is irrelevant to modern day New Zealand – the opposite is true. We’re dealing with what people are thinking, the human psyche, competition, jealousy, misogyny and so many things that are totally relevant.’

‘A huge number of students were Māori, Pasifika and other ethnic minorities who regularly adapted Shakespeare’s works in new and culturally meaningful ways,’ said Sanders.

‘Over 76% of the plays are student-directed, so we are also producing young leaders and thinkers.’

The festival will continue but needs to fundraise for the shortfall now Creative NZ funding has been pulled – see the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Facebook page for more details.

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  1. Unless thse woke sh*ts are removed from power, we will degrade morally, culturally, economically and politically. The soul of NZ is being taken away by the WEF agents in NZ namey PepsiJabSinDa and CoCoColaLuxon who will offer their drinks when we are hungry and noit any food. We dont have a choice other than these two agents.

  2. Bloody stupid decision in a ever growing queue of bloody stupid decisions. Will they ban Shakespeare’s plays next as irrelevant in the so-called modern age of education.? Or collect them all in a nationwide drive for book burning festival in Parliament grounds.? Good Lord what next, public hangings of the unvaxed. This is a very thick end of the wedge, so watch out Kiwis they’re coming for you…


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