Students set for stage challenge

Sixteen Bay of Plenty schools will compete in New Zealand's largest and longest running youth performing arts event next month.

The 22nd ASB 2014 Stage Challenge and J Rock will take to the Tauranga stage on June 16-17 as part of a nationwide tour involving 16,000 participants from 200 schools.

Tauranga Girls' College's 2013 performance was based around New Zealand aviator Jean Batten.

The event aims to motivate young people to engage in positive and healthy lifestyles while providing an opportunity to be part of a professional performing arts event.

As well as allowing young people to showcase their skills in dance, drama and design, it also carries with it key messages of attending school regularly, goal setting, staying fit and healthy, and having fun without tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.

Event manager Sarah-Jane Phillips says the best part about the event is that it gives students the chance to experience that natural high that comes with performing onstage in front of large audiences.

“Stage Challenge provides students with an opportunity to make positive decisions in several areas of their lives and allows them to have fun with their friends while doing so.”

Students, teachers, parents and helpers have prepared their performances during the last few months to be staged across New Zealand at some of the country's premier venues.

Their original pieces of work can be based on themes significant to the community or on concepts as vast as they can imagine – from political and social messages to pure fantasy, says Sarah-Jane.

The ASB 2014 Stage Challenge also has scope for teachers to use elements for NCEA assessments in subjects such as dance, drama, woodwork, art and textiles.

Producer Helen Sjoquist is delighted with how the event has grown during the last 22 years.

“More than 250,000 students have been part of the event and I am proud to witness and hear about their accomplishments both at school and in their future careers.”



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Beauty after the storm. Photo: Tracy Hardy. Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. photos@thesun.co.nz