Katie Shultz spent seven weeks of her summer as an intern with a Maori theatre company in New Zealand called Taki Rua Productions. Taki Rua Productions works with the indigenous Maori to create original works written in English and Te Reo, the native language of the Maori people. Katie assisted in creating a production called "Te Tira Puha" ("The Puha Squadron"), a show about friendship and adventure, which went on tour across all of Aotearoa (New Zealand) to preserve the Maori language and promote careers in theatre. She immersed herself in the Te Reo language, and worked with Maori actors who shared their culture and the struggles of their people in society. She helped with costume production and other stage managing duties for the show. She had the opportunity to tour with the cast and went to several schools on the Northern Island, where she was greeted with pōwhiris and waiatas, special ceremonies and songs to guests on the Marae, or a Maori gathering place. In her free time, she explored New Zealand’s breathtaking landscape, which included climbing up and kayaking in several dormant volcanoes, walking the rim of the tallest building in the southern hemisphere (The Skytower), and seeing a lot of sheep. She also fulfilled one of her dreams to go Zorbing, an extreme sport that originated in Rotorua, New Zealand. Katie will use this experience to study other cultures in various countries in the future, as well as promote the arts in education.
CEE Title: Music: The Universal Language
The Waynesburg cohort took the idea of music as a cultural universal and turned it into a musical workshop. The cohort wanted the community to be able to participate in various forms of artistic expression in relation to music. The goal of the CEE was to show the importance of arts locally and globally. Rebecca Lane introduced the Western PA School for the Deaf who presented several song selections. They were able to demonstrate that music can be “heard” by everyone, regardless of a hearing disability. The high school age students taught the audience how to sign the American National Anthem. Following the lesson was an introduction of the students and a background on the deaf community. Katie Shultz brought a song she learned in the indigenous language of New Zealand, Te Reo Maori, to lead a sing-a-long. She showed the community to appreciate all types of people and their culture. Gabby King took aborigine moves from Australia and taught the audience how to do various dances. She had the audience moving as their inner animals and challenging themselves to “shake-a-leg.” The night was wrapped up with a question and answer sessions with the cohort and the Western PA School for the Deaf. Afterwards, guests had the chance to taste refreshments from Jamaica, Australia, and New Zealand and see displays from their experiences.