2003 Stage Challenge

Stage Challenge is now in its eleventh year in New Zealand. The event began in 1993 with 20 schools and 2000 participants, and has grown to include 158 schools and 14,000 participants. Students are required to create and present an original story on stage through dance and drama, as well as provide a back stage support crew. They are responsible for a diverse range of activities including designing and building sets, make-up, fundraising and budgeting, designing and sewing costumes and performing on stage.

2003 saw FDMC enter Stage Challenge for the first time. The idea for the Stage Challenge began very early in term 1 when an idea put forward by staff member Marni Patten was ‘taken hold of' by a group of dedicated staff and students and realised in a fine performance on Friday 30 May at the Regional Finals held at the TSB Showplace.

Francis Douglas was awarded five Certificates of Excellence on the evening. These were achieved for Drama, Concept, Social and Environmental Awareness, the Music Track and Student Participation. These awards were a real achievement for first time entrants. On the evening we were awarded first equal in the Small School's entry. We are currently awaiting the decision of the ‘Stage Challenge' production firm to find out if our entry will compete against other ‘Small School's' entries in Wellington.

There are several people to thank.

Ms Marni Patten was instrumental in making this all happen. She must be commended for the underlying concepts of daily New York life, destruction of the Twin towers, and the resulting impact on life for everyone today. Her choice of music complemented the theme well. Ms Patten also dealt with much of the paperwork that is required with this competition and this is an arduous task.

Huge credit must go to Ms Suzie Freeman for the dedication she put into this show. Suzie managed to interpret Ms Patten's vision into a dramatic production that had several in the audience commenting on "tingles down the spine", and lots of praise being bestowed on us for the drama and ‘strength' depicted. Ms Freeman works part-time at school, and her generosity of time, total commitment and enthusiasm was absolutely brilliant.

Mrs Chevonne Liddle worked tirelessly spending countless lunchtimes in the Theatrette drilling the Terrorist routine.

Ms Jane Aitken Connolly was responsible for the creation of props and set. Her contribution of time and effort resulted in some eyecatching ‘objects d' art'. A slight mishap at breakfast involving her youngest son encouraged a duplicate ‘Statue of Liberty' head to make its appearance at very short notice. Ms Connolly must be given credit for the patience she displayed at the 5th repainting of the podium, guns, stairs, banners and…

Thanks go to students that helped. In particular Tony Maindonald and Ben Jagersma who volunteered and gave of many lunchtimes priming and preparing the banners and structures, to Mr Sole who made the guns and Mr Coulton and his tool kit! Mrs Liddle also worked several evenings after school to help and this was greatly appreciated.

Thanks to the student volunteers who worked as lighting technicians and stage crew. A production is reliant on your skills.

Special thanks must obviously go to Brother Peter and all of the Francis Douglas staff for tolerating the interruptions and for their support, physically and emotionally.

The big achievers however, were the boys who worked brilliantly to achieve what they did. A very big thank you to all the students who were involved. At times the Sunday practices may have seemed tedious, but next time the discipline and ethic involved in a production will be more apparent to those who have been involved.

Click here for photos.


Finally as with any production there are several sponsors that we wish to thank.

Stuart Jones of Jones and Sandford for building supplies, and related products
Second Impressions Clothing for dressing the refugees
Park City Concrete for building prowess
N.P. Operatic Society for costume hire
Maurice Jones Painter and Decorator for paints
Studio 13 for cutting the music track
Methanex for helping with some costuming
Territorial Army supplies for backpacks