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Hawke’s Bay is hosting National Youth Drama School week 2024

Vaseline 2 months ago

The April school holidays welcomed the return of the National Youth Drama School to Havelock North for the week-long intensive arts programme.

Students from as far north as Whangārei and as far south as Gore and Invercargill flocked to Havelock North High School for eight days of performing arts.

Florence Smith participated in the songwriting class at the National Youth Drama School.  Photo / Paul Taylor
Florence Smith participated in the songwriting class at the National Youth Drama School. Photo / Paul Taylor

The young performers were taught by industry professionals who assisted in their development in film, theatre, technical theatre, songwriting, dance, circus skills and performance poetry.

The teachers included Michael Fenner, a lecturer from the Globe Theater in London, and Sam Brooks, a New Zealand playwright.

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Artistic director Ben Fagan was amazed by the talent of the 2024 group and said there was no better place to host the event than Hawke’s Bay.

“It could only happen in Hawke’s Bay, there’s something about the hospitality and the campus at Havelock North – it makes it an attractive proposition for parents and teachers,” Fagan said.

The 190 students split their week between Havelock North High School and Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Center working on different skills and specialties.

“It’s an opportunity for all these young people to see that you can have a life in the performing arts,” Fagan said.

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He said the week had a huge impact on the students’ lives: “They have been put on a different course because of the National Youth Drama School.

“It is important to celebrate the creativity of our young people and the passion of our young people for storytelling.”

Tessa Livingston teaches a group of students during singing lessons.  Photo / Paul Taylor
Tessa Livingston teaches a group of students during singing lessons. Photo / Paul Taylor

Fagan said the 2024 group had a “positive atmosphere” and was “full of life, excitement and focus”.

The students ended the week with performances showcasing their newly learned skills.

Michaela Gower joined Hawke’s Bay Today in 2023 and is based in the Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay newsrooms. She covers news from Dannevirke and Hawke’s Bay and enjoys sharing stories about farming and rural communities.