Tonight I stage managed the College’s Maori and Pasifika Cultural Evening. The evening involved over 80 student performers as well as guest spots from ex students and members of the community and whanau. The event is predominantly directed by members of our PE staff who put a lot of effort into bringing together diverse members of our college community over the year and joining them up with coaches and mentors of their cultures to support them in rehearsing traditional songs and dances from their respective islands.
They asked members of the Drama department to come in and support them with the smooth and safe running of the event. The Head of Performing Arts and I worked together in the final few weeks of the process to bring together the staff working on the project as student supervisors, technicians, front of house and promotion.
This meant planning and running meetings, supporting marketing the event, coordinating staffing groups and working on the Health and Safety (RAMS) forms and processes.
The duties I held in the process were to attend the dress rehearsal, time each of the acts, coordinate backstage staff and students and ensure the smooth transition of acts. On the night of the performances my role was to coordinate students and keep them to time, deliver important health and safety and backstage messages, ensure students and staff were given the correct running order and communicate changes to the runners. During the performance i was stationed backstage coordinating setting and striking sets for the acts, ensuring H&S was upheld and ensuring students were ready to perform.
What was really exciting for me was working with such a diverse group of students. Most of these students do not participate in Performing Arts in the College, favouring sports instead and often shying away from being in the spotlight. This meant it was important to support the staff involved to be very clear around guidelines for backstage behaviour and safety to ensure their night was as successful as it could be for them.
The students were incredibly respectful throughout the night, listening to staff and appreciating the idea of working as a team onstage. The night was incredibly successful for the students and helped build important relationships between staff and students. The College is now considering creating a Performing Arts course for the students involved in the Cultural group to validate the importance of these art forms as well as raise the students confidence throughout the College.