by Karen Sinclair

Drama, Dramatic Performing Arts and Dance

Department’s co-curricular activities are thriving.

The lockdown imposed some restrictions on Drama classes with Levels 1 and 2 courses having to be adjusted and the usual class productions swapped for other options due to lack of time. With some weekend catch up time, Level 3 have been able to continue and our two performances of an abridged version of Foreskin’s Lament will be staged in Week 7 on Tues Sept 1 and Weds Sept 2. This is an iconic, gritty NZ Drama written by All Black trialist, Greg McGee, which takes a no-holds barred look at pre 1980s rugby culture in NZ.

Dance from Supervisor Mrs Catherine Mills

Rock da House: following heats in each school, the annual PNGHS/PNBHS talent competition was held at PNGHS recently. First-placed was the group Six, comprising of six girls who were in the combined PNBHS/PNGHS senior production. Noah Purcell and Jake Maskill teamed up for third place with their very tight dance routine and also won the People’s Choice Award. Zac Maskill teamed up with Rachel Hodgson as MCs for the very successful evening.

DanceNZMade: our team for the upcoming regionals is Zac Maskill, Noah Purcell and Jake Maskill. Many thanks go to Old Boy and local dance legend, Dean McKerras for his driving of this now national competition.

The Rector’s Company from Mr Phil Mills

The Rector’s Company is a drama company at PNBHS that focuses on the performance of Shakespeare’s works and other drama. The company is open to all boys and aims to develop an interest and passion for Shakespeare’s Works.

At the end of Term 2 next year, The Rector’s Company will perform a run of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night which will borrow some characters from Star Wars. There will be light sabres, storm troopers and droids, a few songs and a little dance, but it will be Shakespeare! The preparation for this will be in the form of audition workshops commencing later this term, dates, times and places to be advised. Auditions will be around the same time as auditions for the main school production. This is a comedy favourite from Shakespeare and will be great fun.

Rehearsals will begin in the form of workshops from Term 4.

In addition, we will be preparing entries for the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival (2021) run by Otago University for Shakespeare’s Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ). This Festival also has entries in art, costume design and essay writing.

Junior Play from Miss Sophie Belcher, Co-HOD

The 2020 Junior Play is underway with their rehearsal process. The group consists of seven junior students and two senior students. Karmeehan Senthilnathan and Caleb Rayner, who are both in Year 13, have written the play and are directing alongside Miss Belcher.

Miss Belcher says "I have essentially let Caleb and Karmeehan take the reins this year. It's nice to see our creative and diligent senior students lead our Junior boys to success."

This acting group focuses more on acting techniques and creative thinking through devising processes. The group rehearses every Monday after school and Wednesday lunch time. They are excited to bring their play to life and showcase this in Term 4 to a live performance.

Theatresports from Miss Sophie Belcher

Despite a strange and challenging start to the year, our Theatresports club is alive and thriving. Theatresports runs every Tuesday and Thursday lunch time, in H block Little Theatre. Any student can join a session, either as a participant or simply enjoy the games through spectating. Laughter, storytelling, accepting offers, failing without embarrassment, and building confidence are all part of this club.

Our club captain for 2020 is Year 13 student, Ollie Gillespie. On the evening of September 19th Ollie and his team (Ollie Gillespie, Ollie Grant, Matthew Allen, Ali Alaswad and William Hince) will be competing at Centrepoint Theatre in the annual Regional Theatresports Competition. The team will compete against other secondary schools in the Manawatu region attempting to bring home the 2020 Theatresports trophy. The competition team is currently receiving professional theatresports coaching from Centrepoint Theatre, associate director, Lizzie Tollemache.  

JMT – Junior Musical Theatre A Company from Mrs Kirsten Clark

JMT got off to an amazing start this year with about 45 boys attending the Thursday morning workshops. Right before we were about to audition the boys for the roles in the shows Covid shut down the school. The boys then had to submit their auditions via video. After the A Company cast for Newsies was selected we then had ZOOM rehearsals twice a week while we were in lockdown. This proved to be very useful, as when school opened up again, most of the boys had their lines well learned. Since then we have moved into blocking the show and getting used to scene changes and props. The boys playing the Newsies have put in extra time on Monday mornings to learn the dancing required for the extra song we have put in this year. We have extremely talented students who are well supported by their families and we are looking forward to a wonderful show in November. Great peer coaching is being provided by Zac Maskill, Karmeehan Senthilnathan and Jacob Dredge.

JMT Bravo Company from Mrs Sophia Parker

I’ve been running the JMT Bravo Group alongside Taryn Baxter with Zac Maskill and Camille Chemasle helping as student mentors. We have been working on excerpts from the musical Guys and Dolls. We started working on it during lockdown with ZOOM meetings. What an experience that was….teaching a group of boys choreography online, some of whom have never danced before in their lives! Once lockdown was over, we were able to get back to the Little Theatre and cast the boys into their roles. From there, I’ve seen such a great work ethic with so many of our boys coming in week after week having learnt their lines and lyrics for songs and have been putting the hard yards in at home to practise any of the dances. I have to say, our Bravo boys have been nothing but focused and willing to learn right from those Zoom meetings through to now and that work ethic is getting better and better as the year chugs along with more singing, dancing and acting is being taught. We meet each Friday from 8.15-9.15am and they come in rearing to go. We are now blocking scenes, tidying choreography, continuing to learn songs and within the next few weeks, putting it all together ready for an audience in Term 4. I can’t wait for these lads to shine on stage. Thanks for the Friday fun BravoJ

Contributing to Community Theatre

We are very proud to have a large number of PNBHS students and PNGHS Senior Production students involved in theatre in the city. Old Boy Finn Davidson directed the recent Manawatu Youth Theatre production of The Little Mermaid and the company included some 20 of our actors and Tech operators. Josh Harrison, Blake Storrier and Vealata Tongati’o were the male leads and Rae Greenwood was Stage Manager. Act 3 Productions’ (formerly The Abbey Theatre’s) current season of Sister Act also includes about 20 current and former students and adult helpers including both our JMT tutors, Kirsten Clark and Sophia Parker, as nuns.

Year 13 student Caleb Rayner, has been awarded funding by the Palmerston North Youth Council to produce and direct a play by the youth in Palmy. It’s called Noughts and Crosses and is based on the book of the same name by Malorie Blackman. It has a great message and is very relevant to the current events happening in the world today. Assisting him from the senior Production Company are Ollie Grant, Eli Hancock and Hannah Taylor. We wish Caleb and his team well.

Centrepoint Theatre’s Basement Company for youth aged 17+ is building towards its first performance for the year, The Basement Variety Hour which is 13th - 17th October. Ollie Grant and Ollie Gillespie are both in the cast.

2021 Senior Production

The PNBHS/PNGHS Senior Production Company is very excited to be staging a southern hemisphere premiere in 2021! Streakin’ Thru the ‘70s is a fest of fun from the forgotten decade. Based around events, themes and icons of the 1970s, the company celebrates all that was ‘70s through more than 40 smash hits from writers and artists such as Helen Reddy, Neil Sedaka, Paul Williams, John Foggerty and The Bee Gees. With less dialogue than normal and highly flexible casting, this show offers an exceptional range of performing opportunities.

COMPULSORY INFORMATION EVENING FOR ALL BAND AND CAST AUDITIONEES will be held in Week 10 of this term, Monday Sept 21 at 730pm in The Speirs Centre.

Workshops and rehearsals will take place in the first 3 weeks of Term 4.

Further information can be located on the Upcoming Production page of our website:

Mr Chris Burton Co-HOD, Director Senior Production, JMT Co-ordinator