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Judges considered five plays staged by actors from two schools and a South Canterbury theatre company.
They ranged from Chook Chook, a Dunedin play about existential factory chickens, to Cut, an original piece about self-harm.
Event organiser Diane Dupres said there was great "energy and creativity" at the competition.
"They're keeping theatre alive," she said.
The winners will head to the South Island competition in Timaru.