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Swotting Up At The Theatre

Auckland Theatre Company
Media Release

For Immediate Release

Friday 21 January 2009

Swotting Up At The Theatre

This Monday and Tuesday secondary school drama students will sit their NCEA drama exam, whilst many students have swotted nervously over text books in preparation, thousands more students will have prepared for their upcoming exam, by going to the theatre.

2008 has been a bumper year for the Auckland Theatre Company’s Education Unit, the school matinee programme played to full houses with school groups coming from as afar afield as Lower Hutt and the Bay of Islands.

Auckland Theatre Company’s mix of classic plays and emphasis on New Zealand work is a draw card for teachers looking for a live theatre experience for their students.

“It is exciting to see young people come to the theatre in droves. We are very audience focused at ATC and put the emphasis on making sure students and their teachers are well prepared for the play they are about to see. We host discussions after the school matinees that are very popular and we produce resource packs that make our work more accessible, and teachers and students often consult these when preparing for exams.” says Lynne Cardy, Auckland Theatre Company’s Education and Creative Development Manager

Running successfully since 2001, the ATC Education Unit offers school students a unique and in-depth engagement with the company’s work.

“The programme is so clear and interesting. The performances are always of a high standard with amazing New Zealand talent. The line up of productions is varied and unique. We can always trust that the ATC will put on professional performances!”
Shiro Kumar HOD Drama, Hillcrest High School, Hamilton

The 2009 schools programme is selling like hotcakes – 5000 seats have been snapped by schools in just four days!

“Every scheduled schools’performance of The Pohutukawa Tree was booked out by lunchtime on the first day that school bookings opened and the performances for She Stoops To Conquer and The Wife Who Spoke Japanese In Her Sleep are nearly sold out too. With lots of other exciting projects on offer for teachers, students and emerging artists, next year looks like being a record beater for the ATC Education Unit.”says Cardy.

“The new theatre curriculum has educated a new audience literate in the making of theatre as well as interpretation, which bodes well for the future of New Zealand theatre,” says Auckland Theatre Company Artistic Director, Colin McColl, “the students have a really in-depth engagement with the work they see and their great insight stimulates lively forums after shows as students quiz the cast and creative teams on different aspects of the production as well as the themes of the plays”.

The ATC Education Unit programme makes a significant contribution to the encouragement and education of the next generation of theatre-goers and theatre makers.
“15% of Auckland Theatre Company’s audience is now audience under 25 – clearly showing it is possible for theatre company’s to buck the trend of having ageing audiences, if young people can have a rich experience of quality theatre early they will think of theatre as reward entertainment choice,” says McColl.
In January the company will also run its second summer school for young (15-25) year old actors. The week long course will engage a wide range of professional actors and directors and offers young actors the opportunity to work closely with ATC artists. The summer school costs $250.00.

About the Auckland Theatre Company Education Unit

The ATC Education Unit nurtures the audiences and theatre-makers of the future with dynamic initiatives designed for teachers, students and young people.

Activities include: the ATC Ambassador Programme, the School Matinee Programme, Schools’ Workshops, Professional Development Workshops for Teachers and Teachers’ Packs.

The annual programme of events focuses on all aspects of the company’s work, from main-bill productions to creative collaborations. In addition, the ATC Education Unit supports emerging artists and the performing arts industry through the International Masterclass series, the annual Summer School, internships and work placements.

2009 partnership projects

Young & Hungry Festival of New Works –Auckland Season, presented in collaboration with the Young and Hungry Arts Trust.

This will be the first time this exciting festival has been held outside its home base of Wellington.
The Auckland season will involve over 100 local teenagers, mentored by leading professional practitioners. Registration opens in February 2009.

THE SIX PACK LIVE! is a unique mentoring programme for young playwrights in association with New Zealand Book Month – creating six new plays inspired by the best of contemporary New Zealand fiction. s

For more in depth descriptions of ATC Education Unit Programmes visit http://www.atc.co.nz/EducationUnit/Default.aspx

ENDS

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