Wakatipu High drama students have been polishing their skills with the help of a big-name director on their doorstep.
Theatre veteran Bryan Aitken has been donating his time in between his current paid job as Showbiz Queenstown’s All Shook Up director to help kids perfect their performances and learn new techniques.
The former associate director and original company member of Christchurch’s Court Theatre says his community volunteer work has increased in recent years.
“So often when I’m working in a community I become the property of the theatre society,” he says.
“But I’ve started working in schools and I’ve found it’s a wonderful opportunity for the community – and for those who weren’t able to be in the productions.
“I have extra skills and knowledge that the teachers won’t have and I can impart that to both teachers and students.”
Aitken, who has directed amateur and professional theatre companies across New Zealand and internationally, has worked with senior drama classes on a weekly basis plus offered advice to students involved in stage lighting.
Year 13 student Emily Burns, who has a lead role in All Shook Up and will soon be acting as Rizzo in the school’s musical Grease, says: “We’re very privileged and lucky to have Bryan here. He’s really inspiring.”
Drama teacher Emily McCrae says Aitken’s help has been invaluable.
“He made students realise there’s an industry out there that they can work towards.”