A bunch of Whangarei boys do not mind being called fairies - in fact they have been training for the title.

They and a number of girls have been taking part in drama workshops to hone up their acting skills before tomorrow's performance-based ArtBeat festival.

The flutter of fairies - in real life terms, aged between 11 and 15 years old - will be based at Arthur's Emporium Fairy Grotto in Cafler Park where they'll be storytelling at scheduled sessions during the day. When they're not telling spellbinding yarns to younger kiddies, they will be playing about and interacting with the crowd in proper impish fashion.

The holiday drama workshop has been organised by Helen Morton-Jones, of the Making a Scene drama and speech academy. Some of the trainee fairies are students from Making a Scene classes held in Whangarei and Bream Bay, and others responded to a holiday workshop advertisement.


Emily Page, 13, said she jumped at the chance to take part.

"I'm looking forward to learning more about improvisation and I'm interested in all kinds of performance," Emily said.

Classmate Aidan Segessenmann , 13, said he's having great fun but sees the workshop and drama classes in general as teaching skills to apply in the real world as well as theatre.

Aidan has taken part in the academy's and associated drama groups' performances at the Whangarei Festival of Lights and Art (FOLA), other local shows and street theatre in the past.

Ben Morton-Jones, 15, quips that he started acting classes because his mum made him (she is the academy's principal) but takes part now "for the pure love of it".

Having moved through various accredited grades in speech and drama, Ben said the main benefit - other than the fun of creative self-expression - is confidence-building.

Ms Morton-Jones agrees that drama is a platform where children learn life skills as well as stage craft.

It also allows them to play a role in the creative life of the community, she said.

"New Zealanders are innovative and creative. Let's nurture that in our young people."

She cites the academy's and Northland Society of Performing Arts' regular involvement in New Zealand Book Awards events in Whangarei Library's children's section.

"It enables the kids to be part of the New Zealand literary scene as well as seeing what the wider community is doing."

The fairies will be among many performers at Whangarei's annual ArtBeat Festival in Cafler Park, from 10am until 4pm tomorrow.