Taking performing arts to the classroom

Published: Thu 1 Nov 2007 01:57 PM
Taking performing arts to the classroom
Avondale College Auditorium was filled with song, laughter and heart-felt applause on Wednesday, 24 October for New Lynn Primary School’s spectacular end-of-year concert.
Woven around Chinese fairytale The Willow Pattern, the concert featured a hand-made Chinese dragon’s head and Maori, Indian, Niuean, Samoan, Tongan and Cook Island cultural performances, reflecting the schools’ multi-cultural make-up.
The school’s 300 students and small but dedicated team of teachers have been working for months on the concert, led by Principal Greg Roebuck who employed former teacher Lofi Lauese specifically to coordinate the performance.
Helping pull off the spectacle were performing arts practitioners John Gibson, Ann Dewey and Kate Parker, who worked behind the scenes developing the students’ and teachers’ performing arts skills.
The artists’ creative expertise was made available through the support of Authentic Learning, an initiative by THE EDGE® to enrich childrens’ learning.
Authentic Learning is a year-long artists-in-residence outreach programme, based on best practise developed by Creative Partnerships in the United Kingdom and Chicago’s CAPE project in the United States, which have a proven positive influence on students’ academic and life skills.
Currently running as a pilot programme with New Lynn Primary and Pakuranga Intermediate in Auckland, the aim is to roll out Authentic Learning to as many as six schools supported by THE EDGE®.
Pakuranga Intermediate students and teachers are working with artists Fiona Graham, Miriama McDowell and Jonathon Besser on the project Story Land Inc., the students’ modern interpretation of Hansel and Gretel.
Story Land Inc. follows Hans and Greta’s adventures as they are transported to ‘Story Land’ through their parents’ mobile phone. The theatrical performance is written, composed, acted, and technically run by students.
Story Land Inc. will be held on Wednesday 31 October and Thursday 1 November, 7pm at the Pakuranga Intermediate School Hall. Adults $5, Children $2.

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