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Young reviewers unleashed on NZ Int. Arts Festival

Young reviewers unleashed on NZ International Arts Festival

Performers in the 2004 New Zealand International Arts Festival will have their work critiqued by a new generation of young reviewers in the Victoria University SchoolFest.

As a part of the SchoolFest programme, students attending Festival performances will be able to submit online reviews of the shows they have seen. On every day of the Festival between 27 February and 21 March, the best review will receive a $50 book or CD voucher while the best review of the week will see a $200 book voucher go to the student's school.

Students attending SchoolFest performances will receive a mini programme with information about the show and a space where they can take notes. A special video with helpful hints from some of New Zealand's top reviewers, actors and directors has also been prepared and sent to participating schools so students can gain insight into what makes a good review. More than 5,500 students have booked to attend SchoolFest shows.

The University sponsorship allows students to see top international performances at heavily subsidised prices. As well, top performers will take their shows to the region's schools while a programme of workshops will allow students to gain hands-on experience in directing, acting, lighting, sound, costume and set design from the professionals.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said the online review was an exciting new innovation to the SchoolFest programme.

"Writing a good review is not easy. It must be informative, entertaining and highlight both the positive and negative elements to capture and convey the essence of the performance. Reviews also have to be concise and written to deadline. The online review competition gives students the chance to hone those skills and present them to an international audience through the Internet."

Professor McCutcheon said as New Zealand's Capital City University, Victoria was a natural partner for the Festival and the SchoolFest programme.

"The New Zealand International Arts Festival, now in its 20th year, is one of the biggest artistic and cultural events in the Southern Hemisphere, with an enviable reputation of presenting the best in the performing and visual arts. Victoria, based in New Zealand's cultural capital, has a proud reputation for being a centre of excellence in the arts with specialist programmes in music, art history, literature, film, theatre and creative writing.

"Our School of Music is the home of the New Zealand String Quartet, which is performing in the Festival, and has strong relationships with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Victoria is also the base of the only branch of the International Institute of Modern Letters outside of the United States and graduates from our creative writing programme are some of the top-selling authors in the country."

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