Scheme aims to inspire future performers
Choosing what to study after high school was a struggle for Maria Yeonhee Ji.
She constantly went back and forth between the arts and sciences.
In the end she opted to study medicine but vowed not to let her passion for writing fall by the wayside.
At university the Epsom resident started to became heavily involved in poetry slams and the spoken word.
Now in her third year of medicine, Yeonhee Ji is working to inspire the next generation to hold on to their dream.
The 20-year-old has started Slant, a mentoring programme for high school students with an interest in performance poetry or experimental theatre.
‘‘If I had this experience in high school, who knows what I would have done? I want to show these students that no matter what they do as a career they can continue to be empowered in the arts.’’
Over eight weeks in term two the students will attend workshops with professionals in writing, performance, sound and lighting design as well as costume and set design.
This will equip them with the skills to create, produce and perform in their own show.
It was Yeonhee Ji’s own experience in the Printable Reality’s Page2Stage artist development programme that inspired her to act.
‘‘My mentor was staging and giving my work depth I hadn’t thought possible,’’ she says.
Yeonhee Ji loved writing at school but never thought her work would have a place onstage, she says.
‘‘I want these students to get some experience from the industry, learn that there are places out there for their work and that there are skills and areas within the industry that don’t even fit in the New Zealand curriculum.’’
The mentoring programme will be open to all youths 15 to 19 years old in Auckland. Students attending schools that don’t have a strong focus on the arts are encouraged to apply.
Costume call: Maria Yeonhee Ji, 20, can’t wait to help the students who will be involved in her mentoring programme find their costumes for the final performance.
Young leader: Maria Yeonhee Ji, 20, is determined to give high school students an early insight into the world of art and drama.