Young people will unleash their creativity and ideas on the Civic Theatre stage tonight with this year's Stage Challenge competition.

Stage Challenge is New Zealand's largest and longest running youth performing arts event and is in town this week providing a platform for young people to explore themes that are important to them.

"Our overall message is to promote healthy living and we provide a platform for students to develop self confidence, resilience and performance skills in a safe environment," said Max Zillwood, communications manager for Stage Challenge.

For many months, local students, teachers, parents and wider communities have been working relentlessly to perfect every aspect of their performances, with the common goal of creating a spectacular show for performers, volunteers, audience members and all involved.

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Not only does the event showcase dance, drama and design, but it's also the chance for young people to express thought-provoking messages for their audiences.

"It is dynamic, fun and exciting when you are in the audience. People often come away inspired by the community concepts and political messages they have seen," said Mr Zillwood.

This year's event manager, Hazel Reid, believes young people are positively impacted by the event.

"Stage Challenge gives our youth invaluable life experience and acts as the perfect platform to showcase talent in all its forms."

The 2016 Stage Challenge also has scope for teachers to use elements for NCEA assessments in subjects such as dance, drama, woodwork, art and textiles.

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Details:

* What: Stage Challenge and J Rock

* Where: Civic Theatre at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre

* When: Tonight 7pm

* How much: $33 from Ticketmaster