This time, young winners are in charge
Four queens of the stage will defend their top spot tomorrow at what has become an institution for young Kiwis - Stage Challenge.
Livvy Mitchell, Nina Bello, Michaela Morrison and Anna Hinderwell, all 17, from St Mary's College in Wellington, were in last year's winning team, and are directing the school's performance, A Miscarriage of Justice is Still a Life Sentence.
Over the next two days, 13 schools from the Wellington region will compete in the performing arts event, aimed at bringing communities together and motivating young people to engage in positive and healthy lifestyles.
This will be Livvy's fourth time in Stage Challenge, and she says the team have been balancing the event with schoolwork and other extra-curricular activities since December last year.
Anna, who has enjoyed directing a student-led production from costume design, to music, set, choreography and a theme, is also entering for the fourth time.
"We spent nine hours in a cafe over one week brainstorming. This year it's about a wrongful conviction of a man who's charged as guilty but is actually innocent, and we wanted to show how society reacts to that."
She has enjoyed managing the cast and crew of 96 students with her three fellow directors and is proud to have raised $4500 in the lead-up to the production.
After winning last year, the pressure is on to keep the plaque in the St Mary's cabinet, but Anna says winning would be a bonus to a great experience.
Production manager Duane Inocencio has been part of Stage Challenge for over 15 years and remembers taking part himself while in college in Australia in 1997. He says he has seen the event improve dramatically with each year, from the creativity of set and costume design to storylines.
While Stage Challenge is always in competition with an increasing number of annual events, Inocencio says the challenge's 22-year history show its enduring popularity with young people.
Stage Challenge will take place tonight and tomorrow night at TSB Bank Arena, 7pm. Tickets are $27-$33 from Ticketek.
The Dominion Post