All abuzz after stage success

By Sonya Bateson

Mount Maunganui College has dominated the Auckland Stage Challenge, taking home nine awards - including supreme winner and best stage crew.

Stage Challenge is about dance, drama and design and is part of a global event.

Each performance runs between five and eight minutes and is set to a medley of published and recorded music tracks.

Almost 100 students were involved in Mount Maunganui College's challenge, from dancers and choreographers to stage crew and puppeteers.

They competed against 11 Auckland schools on Saturday and took out the top prize. Their theme this year was "To Bee or Not To Bee", an in-depth look at how bees are disappearing from gardens.

Liaison teacher John Pringle said the performance began with bees gathering nectar and pollinating flowers, then explored what happened when they were exposed to insecticides and the parasitic varroa mite.

"Our kids were just fantastic. It was a really tight competition against high-class performers."

Director Wayne Flanagan, also the school's head of drama and dance, said they told the story by focusing on a family of bees.

It follows the youngest bee being introduced to the garden, learning how to fly and collect pollen and nectar.

"At the beginning of the performance, the stage was covered in flowers representing the most beautiful New Zealand garden you can imagine. Into that garden comes the monoculture flowers, represented in black and white. The bee family collects pollen from the monoculture flowers to give to the queen bee but there wasn't enough nutrients so she became ill."

The performance ended with the death of the baby bee.

To show the height difference between humans and bees, Mr Flanagan said the students used tall puppets, which were moved by sticks attached to body parts.

Principal Russell Gordan said he was proud of the dedication the students involved in the stage challenge showed.

Student Libby Fisher, 17, has participated in four stage challenges and said it was good to take home the big prize during her last year of school.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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