Luke Hempleman off to London

by Claire Hills

Chanel College Year 13 student and Arts’ Captain, Luke Hempleman, who represented the Wairarapa at the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand National Shakespeare Schools Production held in Dunedin, has been selected to go to London as a member of the Young Shakespeare Company. Forty-eight students were eligible. Twenty –four students were selected.  The team will travel to the Globe Theatre in London in July 2017.

Luke remembers when he received the phone call from Dawn Sanders, the Chief Executive of Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand at 1 20 p.m. on Saturday 8th October. “We had been told in Dunedin that we would be getting phone calls.  I was at a friend’s house sitting by my cell phone waiting for that fateful call. My heart stopped when the screen lit up “Dawn SAndrs.’When she offered me a place in the Young Shakespeare Company 2017, it stopped again. If I were to describe exactly how I felt at that particular moment we would be here all day. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so many emotions in a one minute phone call.”

400 years since Shakespeare died his plays are alive and well.  Special events and performances of his plays are taking place throughout 2016 in virtually every country on the planet. Over 100,000 students from all over New Zealand have participated in the annual regional and national University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival run by Globe Centre New Zealand annual Shakespeare competitions since they began in 1991. These competitions have been described as the most exciting Shakespeare festival in the world. In many countries, purely for logistical reasons, it would not be possible to give students the opportunity to participate in a competition such as this.  Participating students have gone on to careers in the West End, Broadway and Hollywood as well as in theatres all over New Zealand. The competition adds hugely to the ability of students to communicate face to face, close read, analyse and be creative team players.

Luke also aspires to a career in the performing arts. Nathan Holder and Claire Hills, the co-directors of the Chanel Shakespeare productions, have been delighted to have shared Luke’s journey as they have watched his undoubted talent for both tragedy and comedy develop and grow since he first joined Chanel Shakespeare in Year 9. Luke has performed in two separate productions of Macbeth and Hamlet as well as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice. In the Wairarapa regional finals he played the role of King Claudius in Hamlet and at the national finals he was selected to play the role of Macbeth.  He also played one of the leading roles as CIA agent Chuck Rogers in  I Spy, the senior Chanel drama production this year.

Luke has already made a great contribution to drama in the Wairarapa, In recent years he has played a number of roles in Masterton Amateur Theatricals (MATS) productions. Over the last year he played the role of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and is currently playing the part of Geordie, the young bull, in Jersey Girls.

Luke is also an accomplished public speaker. In 2015 he won the O’Shea Shield Oratory Cup and the senior section of the Wairarapa Intercollegiate Speaking Competition. Luke was also  one of the six member Chanel College debating team coached by Kathryn Miles. Chanel College was the only college in the Wairarapa to enter the Russell McVeigh competition in Wellington involving twenty-four colleges.  Chanel College ended up fourth, along the way defeating Samuel Marsden Collegiate, Nga Tawa College, Hutt Valley High School and Rongotai College.

To make his journey to the Globe happen Luke needs to fundraise $8, 500 to cover his course fees and travel costs. He has set up a ‘givealittle’ page at Any contributions would be welcome, even if it is just your well wishes and continued support.