Show quest contest welcomed by Otago schools

Logan Park High School pupils perform during Dunedin’s last Stage Challenge in 2017. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Logan Park High School pupils perform during Dunedin’s last Stage Challenge in 2017. Photo: Peter McIntosh
There was relief around the Southern region yesterday as Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced a popular nationwide performing arts competition will continue.

Following the demise of Stage Challenge, there was uncertainty among schools about the future of an annual performing arts event in New Zealand.

Earlier this year, the organisers of Stage Challenge said they could no longer run the event because of falling sponsorship revenue.

So RockQuest Promotions Ltd picked up the baton and produced a series of successful Showquest events at 10 centres around the country, including Dunedin.

Mr Hipkins said there had been very positive feedback from participants in this year's Showquest and he had asked the organisation to run the event again next year.

Schools across Otago and Southland were shocked when the curtain came down on Stage Challenge because it was a highlight of the school year for many pupils.

It was an opportunity for them to show leadership in the creative arts and for them to collaborate and bond with other pupils from across year levels.

Otago Secondary Principals' Association secretary Gavin Kidd said schools were both relieved and delighted the event would continue.

''My own kids used to be involved, and it's great that it is going to be able to continue.''

Mr Hipkins said dance, drama and music were important parts of the curriculum, and Showquest gave pupils opportunities to showcase their talents by drawing on personal experiences, imagination and skills.

Pupils, supported by their schools, develop a performance from an original concept and take it right through to the final show.

''This year, some students wrote and produced their own soundtracks,'' he said.

''Showquest also provided an LED screen/video wall so students could showcase their technology skills as they designed and produced backgrounds to enhance their performances.

''RockQuest Promotions Ltd did a great job organising events in 2018 in a really tight timeframe.''

About 60 schools signed up and more than 2000 pupils took part this year.

''Next year will be even bigger, as organisers will have more time to work with schools,'' he said.

RockQuest Promotions will now contact schools around the country about next year's events.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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