Staging young Quixote
Matamata college chose Quixote due to its emphasis on social struggles today’s youth face.
Matamata drama teacher Natalie Wright said they wanted to find a play which had a high school setting, was light hearted and funny with a serious message about the difficulties of student life.
The play follows Alonzo (Don Quixote), a bewildered high school misfit, who does not belong to a particular social breed. After failing to take his medication Alonzo falls into a fantasy world escaping his problems at high school and going on a strange and crazy adventure of self exploration. Along the way Alonzo’s wild imagination becomes the butt of cruel practical jokes.
He wins out in the end – his individuality transformed into a praiseworthy strength.
‘‘Teenagers are no strangers to these bullying themes and the moral is simply to be yourself,’’ said Ms Wright.
The cast of 45 drama students range from year 10 to 13.
The play is a condensed version of the original novel and was written for the stage by playwright Flip Cobbler in 2009.
Doors open at 7pm and tickets are $ 10 at the door. Photos: KATRINA LINTONBON. Autism New Zealand’s Waikato Branch closed down last month due to a lack of funding leaving 760 families without a much needed service.
Matamata alone has more than 10 families who use and rely on Autism Waikato providing information on social skills and activities, early intervention, parenting and education training.
Matamata resident Karen Condell has a six-year-old daughter with Autism and said the main concern is for families who have recently had a child diagnosed with Autism or Asperger’s syndrome because the Waikato branch would have been their first port of call.
‘‘For families who have just had someone diagnosed, they were the first place to call because they would organise other organisations to help in whatever situation you need.’’
Whether it was psychologists, doctors or support groups that were needed – the Waikato Branch had someone to recommend.
‘‘They were a bit like a phone book for Autism,’’ Ms Condell said.
Six paid staff have been left jobless and Autism NZ president Wendy Duff said the branch needs $250,000 a year to operate.
They had lost $16,000 and its 2011 loss was likely to be around $43,000.
Labour leader Phil Goff told the Waikato Times that he understood Autism New Zealand was no longer eligible for funding from the Community Response Fund as autism was a health issue – not a social service.
Although Ms Condell said she din’t use the service as much as she used to, it was still needed.
‘‘Autism is becoming more and more known and now where do people go? This limits where they can go and who they can talk to.’’
Ms Condell said she would now be using Parent to Parent and Altogether Autism if she needs any help, both of which focus on helping parents who have children with disabilities.
She said she wouldl miss the fortnightly newsletters sent out by Autism Waikato and reading about other autistic people’s lives and how they went about achieving their goals. ‘‘It was really helpful and encouraging for us.’’