First blind teenager to compete at Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ

Vandhna Bhan
Source: 1News

Kyren Andrews from Northland is the first blind student to compete at the Shakespeare Globe Centre in New Zealand, after winning an outstanding performer award in the Northland regional competition.

His performance from Shakespeare’s Richard III won him the accolade, taking him straight to the national Shakespeare intensive course to be held later in the year in Otago. From here, just one student gets picked to go to the Globe theatre in London.

Andrews is 17-years-old and in his final year at Tauraroa Area School. He was born blind with no retina, but that’s never stopped him. Just last year Andrews took on a new challenge and picked up drama as a subject.

“My main passion is Shakespeare when it comes to drama, so when I got to perform it I was like hell yea I’d take this!” says Andrews.

But putting the scene together was no easy feat.

“It was actually kind of a learning curve for both of us directing him around the stage, figuring out the different mannerisms he had to get down to portray his character right,” says co-actor and director of the scene, Ryan Murray.

“He was a really quick learner to be honest I was struggling to keep up at some points,” says Murray.

“They edited the script and what was most outstanding about Kyren was he did the whole thing on his braille computer, I don’t know if you've ever read a three hour Shakespeare script but they’re pretty intense and hard to understand at the best of times let alone when you’re reading it in braille,” says Kyren’s drama teacher, Debi Walters-Brown, who says he’s such an ‘inspiration’.

She explains how mats were laid down so that Kyren could find his way around the stage.

And Kyren’s not just making his mark on stage, he’s also a keen cyclist currently training to qualify for the Paralympics.

This year he’s already won two silver medals in the nationals, and all while practising his script for drama and finishing school.

His plan is to head to university to study sports psychology, but along with that a trip to the Globe theatre and the Paralympics could be on the cards too.