H@BYT - Romeo and Juliet

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H@BYT is Hawke's Bay's own theatre training company for dedicated young theatre-makers aged from 15 to 20. Since its inception, H@BYT has produced over 60 plays ranging from the classics to contemporary New Zealand theatre.

H@BYT's aim is to teach advanced drama skills through a year round programme of productions, workshops and exposure to professional theatre locally and further afield. Admission to the training company is by audition.

This year's major production is a contemporary reworking of Shakespeare's 'Romeo & Juliet' adapted by former Australian Shakespeare Company director and actor, Phil Sumner. Directed by Peter Cottrell and Champa Maciel, the show features physical theatre and projected images setting the classic story against a futuristic bakdrop: "Climate change is biting but civilization remain relatively intact, although the edges are fraying..."

'Romeo & Juliet' will tour to Hawke's Bay schools in early July, bringing the magic of live theatre right into school settings. Watching live theatre brings huge benefits to learning, but can be difficult and expensive for schools to manage. Part of H@BYT's aim is to bring live theatre to a wider youth audience; theatre performed by youth for youth.

Following performances in Hawke's Bay the group will travel to Australia to bring the production to schools in Sydney and Brisbane. H@BYT has successfully toured to Australia in previous years with productions of 'Tahi Ao' by Daniel Betty in 2016 and 'Over the Top by Amanda Jackson in 2017. In 2018 they were selected as the plenary performance at the International Drama in Education Research Institute Conference.

The 'Romeo & Juliet' cast comprises 15 young actors, almost all of whom are working on a Shakespeare play for the first time. Working with the physical theatre style, the intricate language, and the eponymous characters are proving an incredible theatrical experience for this dedicated group of young people. They are excited about the challenges of bringing the production alive and to performing for audiences in Hawke's Bay and Australia. 

The BOOSTED campaign is to raise funds to go towards the costs of taking the production to Australia. 

See the cast in rehearsal here: