Bright young stars sparkle in festival finale

By Rebecca Savory, Kiri Gillespie

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Performing Arts winner of the Dance Education Centre Trophy Modern Dance Scholarship 14 and under18 Laura Harnett
Performing Arts winner of the Dance Education Centre Trophy Modern Dance Scholarship 14 and under18 Laura Harnett

The 57th annual Tauranga Festival of Performing Arts wrapped up at the weekend after a 10-day festival showcasing the best and brightest from across the country.

The festival featured about 300 performers within singing, instrumental, speech and drama, highland and national dance, ballet, tap dancing and modern dance disciplines.

Yesterday, a selection of scholarship winners and nominees for the National Young Performer of the Year Awards performed to an almost packed-out Baycourt Theatre in the Festival Concert.

Festival president Cathy Gifford said people came from many backgrounds and cultures, and many places to compete.

"Our festival is an opportunity for young people to perform to their friends, family and a wider audience."

Ms Gifford said the children involved were "nice kids".

"There's no room for bigheads around. We run a really friendly competition. But it's more than a competition. There's more to it. There's friendships made, new skills, people are learning on and off the stage."

Papamoa dancer Kaitlyn Weaver, Tauranga tap dancer Ella Sussex and Tauranga singer Anna Mahon were among those nominated to compete in the awards.

Ms Gifford said the nominees showcased outstanding emerging young talent and provided inspirational performances for younger competitors.

This year's competitions were the first to be held in the renamed Centennial Theatre, in tribute to the late Bob Addison whose genius and drive did so much for the performing arts in Tauranga.

Click on this link or view below to see a full photo gallery of the performers in action.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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