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Telecom Brings Theatre Magic Into Schools

Telecom Brings Theatre Magic Into Schools

Telecom is joining forces with a new company of popular young actors to bring the thrill of theatre into schools – linking students with live performances, Internet learning tools and talk-back forums with the stars.

The Telecom Dream Matinees will bring Shakespeare’s magical play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, staring Robyn Malcolm and Tim Balme, to secondary school audiences around the North Island.

For primary schools right around the country there’s Telecom Encore! – a classroom programme featuring live audio-conferences which give children the chance to talk directly with the actors and others who work behind the scenes.

Telecom is creating Internet learning tools on theatre to build on the students’ contact with the artists and link into the curriculum.

Telecom Encore! will offer primary students and teachers a chance to find out more about how performing artists create their work on-line, while a new resource on Shakespeare’s life and work will be available to secondary English classes nation-wide.

“We’ve had huge interest from schools wanting to be part of these ground-breaking programmes, which are designed to give students a chance to see theatre in action and delve into the mystery of what goes on behind the scenes,” says Janice Rodenburg of the Telecom Education Foundation.

The New Zealand Actors Company will bring the Telecom Dream Matinees to secondary school audiences in ten North Island centres between July 27 and September 13. Cast members will also hold forums with audiences, and lead acting workshops with students.

“We leapt at this fantastic opportunity to broaden the audience for the company’s Smokefree Arts Dream Tour 2000 to secondary students, who’ll relate to a brilliant young cast they may so far have seen only on television shows like Shortland Street,” Ms Rodenburg says.

Telecom Encore! will beam into hundreds of primary schools around the country in six weekly audio-conferences between August 7 and September 15. Each week a special guest will focus on a new aspect of creating theatre, and answer questions from students. Robyn Malcolm will kick the series off with a discussion about how an actor creates a role, and Tim Balme will discuss turning a story into a script.

“Telecom Encore! will also look at all the other fun stuff that makes theatre come alive - including special effects, sets and costumes and the role of producers and directors,” Ms Rodenburg says.

Telecom is the leading funder of education in New Zealand after the government, having donated $70 million over the last seven years. It is currently donating around $12 million per year through the Telecom Education Foundation. ENDS

To take part in Shakespeare on the Internet for secondary schools or Telecom Encore! for primary schools, visit the Telecom Education Foundation’s website: from early August

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