Stage Challenge® involves dancers, actors, performers, lighting liaisons, teachers, set and design crew and make-up teams. There’s an opportunity for everyone of all different backgrounds to let their talent shine on and off the stage.

This week TEARAWAY chats to former Western Springs College student Lily Taurau, who spent her high school years competing as a performer in her school’s Stage Challenge team. The now 23-year-old is a familiar voice to New Zealand households, as one third of the popular Mai FM Morning Crew.


Have you always wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?

To be honest I hadn’t considered a career in radio or the entertainment industry as I was growing up. I actually landed a role in radio after winning an on-air talent search competition. In saying that, I am so happy I’ve ended up doing what I do, as I have never had another job where I’ve been able to be creative, perform and joke around in the capacity that I can in radio.


What was your favourite highlight of participating in Stage Challenge?

Every year is full of highlights, but the one that stands out was scoring the main role when I was in Year 10.
I was so proud of myself for getting the part, I remember practicing and practicing before the auditions!


Describe your overall Stage Challenge experience?

My Stage Challenge experience consisted of lots of lunchtime, after school and weekend practices, which sounds like it would get old fast but it never did! All the hard work pays off when you’re standing backstage of the Aotea Centre ready to go on stage and show off to all your family and friends in the audience. The buzz after is like no other. After my first Stage Challenge in Year 9, I was absolutely hooked!


Why do you think Stage Challenge® is an important event for students to be a part of?

At my high school, Stage Challenge was 100% student run, from the fundraising to the choreography and the set and costume design. I think it is so awesome that on the night, the students can show their parents and teachers what they’ve achieved and be super proud of it. It takes a lot of dedication and team work to pull off a Stage Challenge performance and I know that every student who is a part of the performance would have overcome challenges along the way. Whether it be working to a deadline to get the costumes ready in time, or battling the nervousness of getting on stage. These experiences are unique to Stage Challenge and that’s why I think it’s so important to get students involved in one way or another.


Do you have any advice for future Stage Challenge participants?

Make sure your dance moves are big, try not to touch your hair or adjust your outfit when on stage, smile, and make sure you enjoy every second because you’ve worked hard and you deserve it!


Don’t miss the 2016 Stage Challenge touring this May and June! To find out more information and for this year’s show dates, head along to