Rock Eisteddfod Challenge
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The Rock Eisteddfod Challenge is a series of dance and drama events staged worldwide by school pupils as part of the Global Rock Challenge. These events are initiated by the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge Foundation, and aim to promote healthy lifestyle choices, particularly abstinence from drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. An event was started for primary students - J Rock - in 2004 to raise awareness about obesity by promoting dance as a fun way to exercise. Rock Eisteddfod shows are stories on stage in 8 minutes. Participants can have between 10 and 120 students on stage, as well as up to 20 back stage crew. The entire show is set to a pre-recorded soundtrack of contemporary music, and the aim is to use dancing and drama to tell the story. There are also sets and costumes to be thought of and the performances often combine elements from the whole arts curriculum. Schools choose their own theme and story and work collaboratively with teachers and parents to bring their ideas to life.
It was announced on Tuesday 9 February 2010, that due to lack of funding, the event would not take place in 2010.
The concept began in Sydney, Australia in 1980 known as The Rock ‘n’ Roll Eisteddfod, a NSW Arts Council sponsored-event, including some[which?] Sydney high schools at the historic Hordern Pavilion. The idea has been developed by Sydney radio station 2SM. With support from Coca-Cola, the NSW Arts Council promoted the event as an example of local youth culture in action.
In 1988 the New South Wales Health Department was the first to see the Rock Eisteddfod as an opportunity to deliver the “Quit For Life” anti-smoking message to secondary school students in New South Wales. At the same time, Kerrie Hayes and Peter Sjoquist AM (Hayes & Sjoquist Productions) took over and revitalised the event which is now know nationally as Rock Eisteddfod Challenge. Tim Levy was an organizer of the Junior youth competition and hosted it in five cities across Australia.
In 1993 the event was introduced into New Zealand, where it is branded the Smokefree Stage Challenge, starting with 20 schools and 2000 participants, and has grown to include 171 schools and 16,381 participants.
In 1995 Inspector Mark Pontin of the Hampshire Constabulary visited Australia on a Churchill Scholarship. He saw the Australian Rock Eisteddfod Challenge first hand and was so impressed that he persuaded the Chief Constable to introduce it to their area of the UK. In 1996 the inaugural event of the Rock Challenge was staged in Portsmouth with 11 schools and 800 students. This has now turned into a national series of competitions, usually starting in Aberdeen in February and running through many parts of the UK (including London, at the Hackney Empire) until the northern and southern Grand Finals around the end of May / beginning of June.
Rock Eisteddfod events are now staged in several locations worldwide. New Zealand, Germany, the U.S. (but in 2003 stopped in the US), United Kingdom, Japan, Dubai and South Africa have all taken up the Global Rock Challenge. A sister event The Croc Festival stages a series of festivals in remote and regional areas of Australia, aimed at both indigenous and non-indigenous communities are held each year. In addition to performing, the three-day festivals provide the opportunity for rural and remote students to participate in many health, education, employment, sport, visual and performing activities during the day.
While performances are professionally staged events, the Global Rock Challenge is about having fun along the way. Students, teachers, parents and communities work together over many months helping to prepare the school's performance.
A research project led by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Sydney University, Don Nutbeam in 1999–2001, found that participants in the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge in Sydney secondary schools had higher self-esteem than the control group of schools who did not participate in the event; that participants smoked less tobacco and marijuana and drank less alcohol than the control group. The PhD candidate who undertook the research, Dr Rose Grunstein also found that students in participating schools but not in the actual team also had lower propensities to smoke, drink excessive alcohol or take other drugs.
Since then many State and Government Health and Education Departments have put their support behind the event. The Australian Department of Health and Ageing have sponsored the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge television specials with various tobacco, alcohol and drug prevention messages for 18 years.
Almost a million young people aged 11 to 19 have now performed on stage. In 2005, 100,000 young people from 800 schools took part in one of the hundreds of shows staged worldwide.
Over 400 schools and 40,000 students competed in 50 Rock Eisteddfod Challenge shows in 17 regions across Australia in 2006.
In all REC events there are Open and RAW Divisions. In Melbourne and Sydney there is an open, small and premier division.
- Team Numbers- max 143 participants
- Performers- Min 10 Max 100
- Stage Crew: Min 0 Max 20
- Support Crew Max 20
- Expenditure Maximum- $2,500
- Team Numbers – max 73 participants
- Performers: Min 10 Max 40
- Stage Crew: Min 0 Max 10
- Support Crew: Max 20
This division was cut out of the competition in 2008 in favor of RAW.
- Team Numbers – max 128 participants
- Performers: Min 20 Max 100
- Stage Crew Min 0 Max 5
- Maximum Expenditure $2,500
- Team Numbers – max 143 participants
- Performers: Min 20 Max 100
- Stage Crew Min 0 Max 20
- Support Crew: Min * Max 20
- Maximum Expenditure - $8,500
- Team Numbers - Min 20, Max 120
- Maximum Expenditure - $8,500
Josh Wood - Josh Carr
Introduced in 2006, RAW Division is the division of REC which has a 'no set' rule, focusing purely on dance. Participants are encouraged to explore using the human body in order to tell their story, and as a result RAW division has greater emphasis on choreography, dance and drama. Schools may compete in Open/Small/Premier AND Raw divisions.
Global Rock Challenge events in each country attempt to deliver specific health and lifestyle themes such as anti-tobacco, drugs and alcohol messages.
The Rock Eisteddfod Challenge as an Intervention to Increase Resiliency and Improve Health Behaviours in Adolescents (1999–2001)[where?], study explained the effectiveness of the events as a youth program.
The overall findings included a lower incidence of drug, marijuana and alcohol use among participating REC students compared to students in non-participating REC schools. Students similarly had an improved sense of identity, belonging, purpose, problem solving skills, and social competence. As an intervention program, the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge improved flexibility, empathy and caring, good communication skills, sense of belonging and sense of purpose.
90% of students from REC schools and 87.5% from control schools knew that the message was an anti-substance abuse message, the study found very positive attitudes toward the REC, particularly amongst those who took an active role in the event.
Delaney, Brigid (2002-08-03). "Eisteddfod rocks around again, high on adrenalin". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
"Rock Eisteddfod Challenge Official Website". Retrieved 2007-06-17.