Fun Packed Year for the Arts

It is hard to believe we are at the end of another year. This time last year I was excited that we were bringing back the annual College Musical to provide more diverse and engaging performance opportunities for all students. It’s been a full and successful year with Theatre Sports, Shakespeare Soiree, Stage Challenge, Speech and Communication, Itinerant Music and the Co-Curricular Music programme, The Kids’ Sing, The Big Sing, KBB Music Festival, Chamber Music, and Seussical The Musical. 

Seussical The Musical

Seussical The Musical created a wonderful collegiate atmosphere and we had sell-out performances and fantastic feedback. Double casting provided many acting opportunities for students. The production was nominated for Showdown, the Auckland Secondary School Production Competition. The nominations included Best Performed Choreography, Best Performance by a Chorus, Best Female Soloist for Aleyna Taumoepeau, and Best Female in a Leading Role for Stella Swney, Sandy Burrowes for costumes, and Laura-Beth Warne for choreography. Ella Guinness was also nominated for her performance as Brother in the Senior Drama, End of the Golden Weather. The nominations acknowledge the commitment and engagement of all those involved.

We rely on commitment from students and staff, trust and support from the Leadership Team, Trust Board and College community to ensure events are successful, so it is wonderful to be able to present another musical, The Wiz, in 2018. With the creative vision of Laura-Beth Warne (Choreographer), Robin Kelly (Music Director) and Cherie Moore (Director), The Wiz is guaranteed to be a hit. Based on L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this contemporary rendering is a fantastic tale of friendship, courage and self-discovery. Production dates are 4-8 April. Save the date. Tickets will go on sale early in Term 1.

Theatre Sports

Theatre Sports has had a fun and successful year competing against other Auckland schools and hosted a popular tournament in the Joan Holland Auditorium. We begin Term 1, 2018 with exciting workshops and will be extending the programme to Years 7 and 8.

Our Choral Programme has blossomed in 2017. Saints Alive achieved a much-deserved Gold Award at the Big Sing National Finale under the guidance of Rowan Johnston. Rowan and the choral team, including Fiona Tibbles, Mary Cornish, Amelia Giles and Jennifer Maybee, contribute greatly to the College’s singing culture. College choristers have enjoyed performing together at several events and our students and our staff choir’s talents were evident at the Christmas Carol Service at Holy Trinity Cathedral on 1 December.

We also have a wonderful team of music directors and itinerant tutors who inspire and support our students. Our instrumental programme continues to win accolades. The Black Watch Orchestra performed the Haydn Kinder Symphony to rapturous applause at the KBB Music Festival Gala Concert. The Y6 to 10 Concert Band musicians, conducted by Sally Tibbles, were thrilled to be able to play in the Honours Band Festival at Auckland Town Hall alongside 250 other young musicians. Francesca Orchard-Hall and her oboe won the People’s Choice Award in the final of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest performing a piece specially commissioned for them.

2017 has been another solid year for Dance. The Stage Challenge team of over 170 Years 9 to 13 students delivered another thought-provoking and visually stunning performance. The showcase for Years 9 to 13 dance students was an eclectic display of performance work from the classroom, and highlighted the skill, diversity and stamina of the students, some of whom performed in every second number. A senior dance company will be set up in 2018 under the direction of Ms Laura-Beth Warne.

In 2017, Deb Waalkens coordinated over 250 students competing for entry into the SGCNZ Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival. St Cuthbert’s College won Best use of Song/Music and Best Teacher Director for Ms Waalkens. Alexandra Briscoe (Y13) was selected to take part in the SGCNZ National Shakespeare Schools Production, a week-long, residential programme. Senior drama students took first and second places in the UNESCO’s Create One World activism competition performing a piece about their chosen social issue.

J Rock

2017 saw the introduction of J Rock in the Middle School. Students from J Rock will go on to take part in the ever-popular Stage Challenge.

Our performing arts programme is vital to the life of the College, developing girls’ core competencies such as teamwork, commitment, reliability and integrity. 2018 will begin with a very full and exciting Term 1 for the Performing Arts with auditions for Stage Challenge, rehearsals for The Wiz, and our Shakespeare Soiree, alongside Pofiafia and Polyfest, encouraging valued connections between Y9 to 13 students, and J Rock in the Middle School. We are looking forward to a packed and exciting term 1 Performing Arts schedule.

Aaron Tindell, Director of Performing Arts