Tommy Laybourn performing at Kuranui College last year. PHOTO/FILE
Teacher and student will come together to represent Wairarapa on the world stage at the Globe Theatre in London in July.
Kuranui College’s teacher in charge of performing arts Juanita McLellan will head to England to perform A Winter’s Tale, and will take to the stage alongside one of her former students, Tommy Laybourn.
The opportunity is only open to teachers from New Zealand, and Ms McLellan said it would be an “experience of a lifetime”.
She spent her teenage years as a student at the South Wairarapa school and returned as a teacher almost 18 years ago.
She teaches drama and history, and encourages her students to be themselves.
“Fostering an inclusive environment is very important to me, because that’s when you see the students thrive,” Ms McLellan said.
“They are honest and forthright, and it is interesting to see how they process things and what marvellous ideas they bring to the table.”
Performing arts has gone from strength to strength at the school under her watch, and with the new Ignite curriculum in the junior school, it is becoming even more popular as students are encouraged to choose personalised programmes of study.
One of her proudest moments at Kuranui was fundraising and taking students to London and Paris to visit iconic heritage sites.
Another highlight took place last year when her students performed their 15-minute Shakespeare piece, Pericles.
“All of the community got involved, not just the students,” she said.
“We had local iwi and parents contributing to our performance to make it an authentic piece – it was very moving and fabulous to have the support from our community.”