Scheme aims to in­spire fu­ture per­form­ers

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By ROSE CAW­LEY

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.

Pho­tos: ROSE CAW­LEY

Young leader: Maria Yeon­hee Ji, 20, is de­ter­mined to give high school stu­dents an early in­sight into the world of art and drama.

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