An experience to remember

Birdlife International Ruination Division extractors (BIRD-Es) Neisha Hitchcock, Tommy Shorter and Honey Marinas.

There are some school experiences you never forget and, more often than not, the school production is one of them.

Selwyn Ridge Primary School in Welcome Bay has been staging its biennial school production since 2000 with principal Craig Price and arts specialist Andrea Meredith both writing and producing the musicals each time.

The first show in 2000 was ‘Wish Upon a Star’, a Disney-themed show starring 11-year-old Trent Boult, now a Black Cap, but then a formidable Woody from Toy Story.

“He was brilliant and looked just like Woody. But then he went to the dark side and went to sport instead of the arts,” laughs Andrea.

This year the production is ‘BIRD-E’ and every child in the school will be taking part, either in a main role or as part of a dance on-stage with their class.

“It’s about giving our kids the opportunity to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves,” says Craig. “They’re contributing to a whole team event that will provide life-long memories, is fun, and involves lots of learning.”

He admits that for some children it will be a huge challenge.

“They’ll be standing up in front of 300-400 people but they rise to such high levels and they love it,” says Craig.

The entire school community gets behinds the shows, including parents, teachers and children.

“Everyone is positive and pro-active in making it a real celebration,” says Craig.

Andrea says the show works because Craig leads from the top.

“He firmly believes that this is part of the curriculum. The kids are learning, not just coming out of class and missing their ‘real’ learning.”

Planning for the next show using happens fairly soon after the current one is finished.

“We basically throw around a few ideas and brainstorm as to what might happen. We bounce ideas off each other: ‘what about this song?’ or ‘what about this twist?’ We have fun with the writing process and being creative,” says Craig.

 “The last few productions we’ve been even more deliberate in thinking about connections with the New Zealand Curriculum and how that connects with our school vision for learning as well.”

Bird-E opens with the birth of the kiwi who is bestowed the honour of being the national bird of New Zealand. Villains Meg Pie and Dr Crow don’t like this so they decide that Meg Pie will become the ‘global’ bird.

In order to do this she will need feathers from other national birds around the globe so she sends her ‘BIRD-Es – Birdlife International Ruination Division extractors – to collect them for her.

BIRD-E will be held in the Selwyn Ridge Primary School hall on Holmburn Street from Tuesday, July 3 to Thursday, July 5 at 7pm. Tickets are $10 and available from the school office.