Florence O'Connor was on the verge of hyperventilation.
After months of practice, up to six hours a day leading up to last night, the 2010 Stage Challenge title was once again Nayland College's.
For the second year in a row, the school came out tops at the Trafalgar Centre with an eclectic depiction of a Halloween night gone horribly wrong.
"Oh my gosh," Florence, 17, panted in the Trafalgar Centre lobby after the announcement, "I never thought it would be this good. I can't even describe it. Maybe I will in a couple of minutes when I can actually breathe."
Her grin was turned into a frightening spectacle with black and white makeup that spanned her entire face.
"I scream a lot anyway but this is something else. This is heart-stopping, I have been screaming for the last five minutes."
As had almost the entire complement of young people at some point in the evening. They flocked with friends and parents to see their loved ones perform.
Florence was part of the organising crew of senior students that came up with Nayland's Stage Challenge concept and executed its ghoulish vision.
Behind Closed Doors featured young trick-or-treaters who strayed into a haunted house, to be confronted with corpse brides, an army of the undead and a devilish necromancer.
Oakley Salton, 17, said it was the passion of being part of a strong performing arts school that drove all the students to success.
"All the kids passionately want to do this. It's the culture of the school. The kids all really love it."
The award will now sit in the school's reception area along with the Stage Challenge titles from 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
- © Fairfax NZ News