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St Hilda’s Collegiate Aims To ‘bring Back The Buzz’ With New Arts Festival.

Local creatives have been invited to perform in the inaugural St Hilda’s Festival of Arts, 24 – 26 June. Deputy Principal Geraldine Corkery conceived the event after noticing that the school was eerily quiet after the Level two restart:

‘With no arts, cultural or sports practices, students remarked there was nothing to do at lunchtimes. We decided to bring in local artists to provide uplifting, inclusive, and interactive activities in all the wonderful spaces we have on campus’

St Hilda’s recently opened a new state of the art visual and performing arts building and has hosted an artist in resident programme for several years. This year’s resident, Eliana Gray, is organising one of the twelve events that St Hilda’s students can participate in over three lunchtimes. Eliana Gray is an award winning local poet, and they will offer students the opportunity to create a ‘poetry quilt’ to be displayed afterwards. Other events include: Gasp! Inclusive dance; White Men, a play by St Hilda’s alumna Abby Howells; a live graffiti battle from Ōtepoti Hip Hip Hustle; and an improvised musical Play it By Ear.

The school brought in the Dunedin Fringe Festival to assist with curating the programme which draws heavily from the recently cancelled 2020 festival. Fringe Director, Gareth McMillan, was full of praise for the initiative:

‘I think St Hilda’s should be commended for investing in their students’ wellbeing and for supporting local creatives. The arts sector is really hurting right now and it’s wonderful to offer some events the opportunity to present the work they had developed for the fringe, and assist them recover from the financial impact of Covid 19.’

The St Hilda’s Festival of the Arts is being resourced from funds that would have gone into term two extra curricula activities including the biennial school production, the Big Sing and a planned trip to a choral festival in Canberra, Australia. They have already had Jane Siddal, a textile artist, and Jonathan Usher, a magician, in the school to great effect. While the programme has been designed to appeal to all students, it also supports the school’s careers advisory activities especially to students who have already proven themselves highly capable creatives. It is hoped that the St Hilda’s Festival of the Arts may become a more regular fixture in the school’s calendar.

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