Regulus // Issue 1 // May 2023
More news for Staff
The ‘enormously positive impact’ Head of Drama and Dance, Laurence Wiseman, has on staff and students at St Andrew’s made him a worthy recipient of the 2022 Marily Scanlon Award for Teacher Excellence, says Rector, Christine Leighton. “Not only does Laurence have an outstanding record of student achievement in his NCEA Drama classes, with his students gaining outstanding levels of Excellence endorsements, he has delivered nine Senior Productions which have become widely renowned for their entertainment value, skilled performances, and magical story telling."
The Marily Scanlon Award for Teacher Excellence is generously supported by previous Board Member, Jay Scanlon, in honour of his late wife, Marily. Laurence says he was ‘surprised and shocked’ to be presented with the award at the end-of-year Prizegiving and was still considering how to spend the $5000 prize.
When he reflects on his eight years at St Andrew’s, Laurence says he is most proud of the productions, and while every show is special, his personal highlight is Parade, from 2019. “I have loved the story and music for so long, so to put on the New Zealand premiere of Parade was a dream come true. The show has confronting themes of racial prejudice and oppressed minorities, which took on a whole new significance given we performed it soon after the mosque attacks. It was a case of art imitating life, and the students showed incredible maturity and sensitivity to pull it off.”
When it comes to teaching, Laurence says he simply ‘loves this job’ and appreciates the leeway, autonomy, and trust that is placed in him at St Andrew’s. “I am not a touchy-feely, stereotypical Drama teacher. We are here to create work, performance, and theatre, and I believe any student can do it. A lot of my approach is giving students the opportunity to play, explore, wonder, and ask questions like “what if?” I play devil’s advocate a lot and am not very conservative and traditional but it seems to work so far.”
Laurence says he is proud to work with a team of ‘amazing artists’, Head of Music, Duncan Ferguson, and Performing Arts Co-ordinator, Ginnie Thorner, who every year support him in bringing his vision for the productions to life. “I’m proud of the culture we have between us and the positive working relationships we’ve discovered. The quality of the productions created are a testament to these relationships, which underpin every show.”
More news for Staff
The Rector's Address from the first edition of Regulus for 2023.
The Board Chair's Address from the first edition of Regulus for 2023.
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