Actors challenged at summer school

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Senior students Toby Lee, 15, and Magdalene Haugh, 13, work through this scene from All Shook Up.

Artist in residence Bryan Aitken has being challenging young actors to move scenes from the page to the stage at this week’s Ashburton Summer Theatre School.

The former associate artistic director of The Court Theatre, Christchurch, has been working on ways to integrate dialogue, song and character.

Around 60 youngsters have been guided by Aitken and his assistant, Laurence Wiseman, who have been supported by Big Little Theatre Company (BLTC) teacher Georgie Sivier and BLTC former student Greta Casey Solly.

Moyra Whiting was the rehearsal pianist at the start of the week.

Students have been working in trios, duets and as a whole ensemble.

Mr Aitken said the theatre school was about challenging and extending students.

It encouraged them to find the deeper character within scripts and to turn scenes into song.

Scenes were taken from a number of cultural works, including Fiddler on the Roof, and also from stories set in the 1960s, 1970s and more contemporary works.

The Ashburton Summer Theatre School will wrap up with a “finale” showcase performance for parents and family at the Event Centre tomorrow afternoon.