Legends on stage in Te Puke

Students from Te Puke High Special Ed Unit perform on stage. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

Celebrating the legends amongst us is the theme of a special show held this week in Te Puke that is both poignant and captivating.

Created by the 19 students and staff at Te Ringa Awhina, the special education unit at Te Puke High School, the performance has thrown a spotlight on legendary figures that come from the different cultures represented by students in the unit.

Theatre director Michelle Cliff says the idea for the annual show came about six years ago when she was sitting in the unit’s sensory room holding her then four-year-old grandson.

“I was thinking how I wanted to do drama with these kids to showcase their abilities. This is an absolute celebration of these super powered kids who in themselves are legends.”

This is the third show Michelle has done with the students.

“We did one called ‘TPHS The Perfect Hero’, the next one being ‘The Greatest Show’, based on ‘The Greatest Showman’ and now this one is called ‘Legends Amongst Us’.”

‘Legends amongst us’ portrays Maui capturing the sun, Diwali, Jonah Lomu, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary, as well as legends of music from Lady Gaga to Elvis.

The about one-hour show was performed at Te Puke’s Litt Park Theatre this week over two nights.

“It is a show that has been created by the students and myself. Local author Angie Belcher came in and wrote a story on Edmund Hilary with two of the boys, one of who is Nepalese. And Sammie Campbell, a phenomenal theatre coach has done an amazing job choreographing it.”

The students rehearsed for ten weeks either side of the recent lockdown.

Due to Covid alert level two restrictions, Michelle says they couldn’t fill the theatre but available tickets sold fast to families and friends, who were asked to wear a mask, and encouraged to bring a tissue.

“Their families are amazing, and we’re celebrating them too. It’s a top show, so poignant. The students have had so much input into it. The learning that’s been experienced is multi-faceted. It’s not just what we’ve seen on stage, it’s been the many weeks of work and practice.”


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