Stage Challenge coming to Rotorua

New Zealand's largest and longest running youth performing arts event is coming to Rotorua next month.

The ASB 2013 Stage Challenge and J Rock will be here on June 17-18 and students from 16 local schools will take to the stage.

The event is part of a nationwide tour involving 16,000 participants from 200 schools. It aims to motivate young people to engage in positive and healthy lifestyles while providing an opportunity to be part of a professional performing arts event.

In its 21st year, Stage Challenge continues to provide a first-class professional event for young people to showcase their skills in dance, drama and design. The experience carries with it key messages of attending school regularly, setting goals, staying fit and healthy and having fun without tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.

Event manager Sarah-Jane Phillips believes the best part about the event is that it gives students the chance to experience that natural high you get when performing on stage in front of audiences of thousands of people.

"Stage Challenge gives students the opportunity to make positive decisions in several areas of their lives and allows them to have fun with their friends while doing so," she said.

For months, students, teachers, parents and wider communities work together to prepare performances to be staged across New Zealand at some of the country's premier venues.

Their original pieces of work can be based on themes significant to the community or on concepts as vast as they can imagine - from political and social ideas to pure fantasy.

The event also has scope for teachers to use elements for NCEA assessments in subjects such as dance, drama, woodwork, art and textiles.

Stage Challenge producer Helen Sjoquist is delighted with how the event has grown.

"More than 250,000 students have been part of the event and I am proud to witness and hear about their accomplishments both at school and in their future careers," Mrs Sjoquist said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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