St Hilda's Collegiate School won the latest annual Stage Challenge in Dunedin last night after a nine-school show which enthused a big audience with a high-powered mix of skilful performances and lively creativity.
Otago Girls' High School was second and Logan Park third in the event which attracted a crowd believed to be more than 800 strong.
Event manager Sarah-Jane Phillips, of Auckland, said the annual show was ''just getting better and better'', the participants impressed with the professionalism of their performances, and the overall atmosphere was ''pumped and electric''.
The nine participating schools in the Stage Challenge and J Rock event were mostly from Dunedin but included South Otago High School from the south and Waimate High School from the north.
Schools chose their own themes for their eight-minute performances and the pupils delivered key motivational messages through dance, drama and design.
Among the thought-provoking topics explored were a ''Lest We Forget'' theme, reflections on Dunedin Street Art, and musings on media-related pressure.
Most schools had been rehearsing since the start of the school year, and countless hours of work had been put in behind the scenes on costumes and sets.
Organisers said the shows aimed to achieve social change through the use of the arts, and to inspire creative thinking among youth.
Pupils, teachers, parents and communities were working together helping to prepare each school's performance.
The Edgar Centre show is part of a wider national event, now in its 23rd year, and comprising 19 shows, 12 locations and 200 schools and 16,000 participants and billed as this year's ''biggest school-based dance and drama extravaganzas''.
- Photos by Peter McIntosh
• Copies of photos can be purchased from: otagoimages.co.nz