Tanilba Bay Public and Maitland High schools top the Newcastle region in Wakakirri Story-Dance Challenge

CHALLENGE: Students from Tanilba Bay Public School perform 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' to win the Newcastle heat of the Wakakirri Story-Dance Challenge. Picture: Winkipop Media
CHALLENGE: Students from Tanilba Bay Public School perform 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' to win the Newcastle heat of the Wakakirri Story-Dance Challenge. Picture: Winkipop Media

Tanilba Bay Primary and Maitland High schools have taken out the Newcastle heat of the Wakakirri Story-Dance Challenge, Australia's biggest performing arts event for primary and secondary schools.

The Port Stephens-based primary school school performed 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar', a fantasy based on the Eric Carle story, which features a family magically transported from its home to the land of the caterpillar through a picture frame in their bedroom.

"What unfolds is a story of magic, dancing and life cycles," said school principal Abigail Sawyer, who praised the work of students and item coordinators Jodie Carlson, Cath Stone and Alycia Baker.

In addition to winning the top primary prize, Tanilba Bay, which has participated in Wakakirri since 2013, also won the Best Adapted Story award.

Maitland High School won the secondary section of the Newcastle heat.

The Maitland students performed in Wakakirri for the second time this year, and also won the Best Original Story Award for a performance titled 'Take me home'.

The performance follows the journey of a young man who moves to the city and discovers the grass is not always greener on the other side.

More than 280 schools and 20,000 students across the country are performing in Wakakirri this year, with nine schools taking the stage at the Newcastle Civic Theatre on August 5.

As the Newcastle region's winners, Tanilba Bay and Maitland is now in the running for Wakakirri's top national award, 'Story of the Year'.

Other big winners from the region included Berkeley Vale Public School, winning the Best Wildlife Story Award for their conservation focused performance and St Philip's Christian College Cessnock, winning the Best Community Story Award for their performance charting the history of their independent school.

Calrossy Anglican School traveled from Tamworth to Newcastle to share a blockbuster performance that followed three generations through the history of the school, which won the Best Cultural History Story Award.

Established in 1992, Wakakirri is an opportunity for students to share stories that express their thoughts, ideas and aspirations. This year Wakakirri's national panel of industry experts included Emma Watkins (the yellow Wiggle), Andrew McFarlane, Justine Clarke, Alex Papps, and Caroline Kaspar.

Wakakirri's Story of the Year award will be announced October 17 on Waka TV.

Schools around the country will watch the announcement live by tuning in online.

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