A circus scene is not the only juggling act Tuturau School pupils will perform when they stage their play The Happiness Project at 6.30pm Thursday December 3 at the Tuturau hall.
With the help of Invercargill theatre practitioner Angela Newell, the pupils will have also written and directed the show.
“It’s about empowering them with the production,” Ms Newell said.
She had more than 20 years of experience in theatre, including directing Shakespeare in the Park productions in Invercargill, and was enjoying introducing children to her craft.
“It allows them to see performing arts in the wider context.”
They had made a “bespoke” production that incorporated children’s strengths and was itself set at Tuturau School.
The play was about new pupil Pip, played by Kaedyn Ramage (11), and her journey to make friends and deal with school bully Bugsy Badly.
“I think it will be fantastic.”
Acting principal Diane Walker said the school was lucky to have Ms Newell.
“She’s certainly lifted the children’s understanding of stagecraft,” Mrs Walker said.
The message of the play was how to find happiness in daily life, a theme that was especially relevant due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There’s been a lot of disappointment this year, we wanted to turn that around and give a positive slant on how we find joy in our daily lives.”
The production involved audience interaction, and she hoped it would be uplifting for everyone.
“It’s about what gives joy and happiness in our lives no matter what.”
Pets were an example of this, and photos of the pupils’ own pets would be shown during the production.
Felix Kowalewski (10) was directing the show.
“It’s a lot of work. Sometimes people don’t remember their lines and you have to give them a little prompt,” Felix said.
Blocking, or planning where each person would move while onstage, had been especially tricky.
However it was coming together well, he said.
He was also acting in the play.
“I come in here, there and everywhere.”