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The Avonside Stage Challenge 2009

By Rebecca Skevington

stage doorThe Stage Challenge this year was to put together an eight-minute show about genetic modification. The ideas for the show were developed over several months.

We needed to think about costumes, lighting, acting and choreography and keep within the rules of the “Rule Book”. Another challenge was to remain within the school budget.

Running the Stage Challenge for Avonside involved meetings during the Christmas school holidays to sort out ideas on theme and how it was going to be delivered within the eight minutes.

The next big step was auditioning. Stage Challenge rules allowed a maximum of 100 performers on stage for one team. Luckily for us we had 90 girls to audition, so everyone made it past this stage. After the auditioning the leaders needed to teach the girls some moves, we achieved this by meeting every Sunday for 3 hours. During this time we also chose music, which had to be approved by the artist. This took up to three weeks and some of our requests were declined. This meant finding a new song and changing our choreography to suit the new song, and then hoping that the new song would be approved.

By now we were half way through Term 1 and had practises four out of five lunch times. Groups were formed, determined by the ability of the dancers. We then started measuring the girls for costumes, this was a huge task as people didn’t always turn up, or I didn’t have the measuring tape on me! We had to find fabric for our costumes that suited our show, was the correct colour and it needed to be easy to sew.

It also had to be cheap as our budget wasn’t that big. My mother and I made shorts for the 'Rats' during the school holidays. We set up a sewing bee for the 'Plants' who wore dresses and the students helped make their own dresses, which they were allowed to keep after the show. The 'Scientist' costumes were a mix of Drama Department costumes and the Chemistry Department coats. Other costumes were found within the Drama Department and items found around the girl’s homes.

During the school holidays we had practises every second day, these were five hours long and involved going over and over the work learned. Our backstage and support crew made the props for the show. On days with no practises, costumes were being made, make-up, head-bands, paper and anything needed for the props was bought. This used up more time than expected.

After the holidays we had two weeks left before the Challenge, we had our Formal at this time so the leaders were super busy. We had no time for ourselves and had to work around practises that were held every lunchtime. We were still sorting out the entry forms and checking that all money had been paid. These two weeks were very stressful but came together well.

The show went mostly to plan and we won six awards. These were for Excellence in Drama, Excellence in Stage Use, Excellence in Costume, Excellence in Health, Lifestyle and Creative Thinking and Excellence in Choreography.

Published 6 July 2009 Submitted July 3 2009