Arts evening was a lively, colourful performance celebration when NCEA students and the Shakespeare Festival teams shared their achievement of creating rich theatre. This was a wonderful exhibition of whanaungatanga, the relationships of shared experience and working together, in the kindness and respect shown by students backstage, onstage and in the audience as they coped with technical issues, illness and nervousness. Admirable resilience was shown as “the show must go on”.

An interesting range of musical theatre songs and scenes explored rich cultural contexts. The biblical stories from Jesus Christ Superstar (Manny, Juanita); the fairytale Beauty and the Beast (Jasmine); the colourfully Pacifica Moana (Alofa, Rapture, Vai); the teen angst of Be More Chill (Jordon) and the gothic Beetlejuice (Josh, Caleb, Hannah-Mae, Joel). The sporty bounce of High School Musical (Jesy, Frank and assorted teens) contrasted with the queen bee sass of Heathers (Sam and Keira). The rich characters from ‘Waitress’ really impressed the audience in ‘She used to be mine’ (Juanita) and ‘When he sees me’ (Dani). A strong team presented 3 songs, with great costumes and characterisation, from the show Legally Blonde and built up to a very funny, unexpected trial scene which left the audience laughing and cheering. (Francine, Hillary, Soweda, Shakira and Meagan supported by Joel and Caleb) Mercedes’ wonderful steampunk ‘Annabelle raises the dead’ had to be performed later in the week but was impressively scary. One stand out star was Vaione for his very popular Mean Girls dance but also all the number of other scenes in which he performed cameo roles, sometimes at short notice.

The audience enjoyed the changes of mood with the solo singers. Oceana’s lovely, assured performances of ‘Beyond me’, ‘Killing me softly’, and ‘Heart of Stone’: Mara’s thoughtful ‘Reflection’, Juanita’s soulful and sassy ‘Who’s loving you’, Manny’s smooth crooning ‘Ordinary people’ and Pomate’s sweet piece ‘Tangled’. Lovely to listen and relax with such beautiful music.

A bloody scene from Macbeth (Te Rama & Keiran) projected a sombre and threatening mood with excellent timing and voice work. This was complemented by a strong piece from a New Zealand play ‘Bloodlines’  powerfully performed with strong physical presence by Mya. It was a pleasure to, finally, have a live showing of the Shakespeare Festival scenes directed by Amy Woermann (Romeo and Juliet) and Molly Noven (The Taming of the Shrew). The 5 minute group, with students from Year 7 to 13, worked on Romeo and Juliet, Act 1: Scene 1 is a riotous marketplace fight between the Capulets and the Montagues. It was a delightful performance with vibrant characters and lots of colour and energy. 

Thank you to all the family and friends who brought kai and supported the performers with their warm applause and positive feedback. We were especially appreciative of the technical team – Molly, Kirsty, Micheala, and Lachlan who had the challenging job of making Mrs Clark’s and Mrs Beer’s plans for head mics, backing tracks and scenery changes come true. It was a full and fabulous evening.