‘iChoose’, Innovative Anti Bullying Programme Launches in Auckland Schools
“iChoose”, an innovative anti-bullying programme will be launched in Auckland schools on 25 February 2013. The programme was launched in the United States in 2010 and has since toured high schools in Hawaii, New York, Los Angeles and Oslo, Norway.
iChoose is aimed alping youth bullying for what it is: a choice.
iChoose challenges people to stop, think and remember that their choices matter. The programme comprises of a 20 minute musical production by young New Zealand performers, followed by a discussion with students facilitated by the cast members. The show will be followed up with the internationally successful Victory Over Violence (“VOV”) exhibition.
iChoose was created by the international Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP), an organisation founded by international artists like renowned Jazz musicians Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, guitarist Carlos Santana and actor Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing in “Dallas”) who are committed to using the power of creativity to foster a culture of peace and non-violence. The founding principles of ICAP are inspired by Buddhist and Gandhian ideals of non-violence. ICAP is bringing the programme to New Zealand.
Featuring actress Bronwyn Turei (Cody in the hit TV series “Go Girls”), Auckland comedian Greg Goodyer and hip hop artist Jaime Latima, cast members for the NZ production have been picked locally. iChoose director Lisa Brickell says that the iChoose musical has been adapted to reflect the unique Pacific flavour of Auckland.
“The unique thing about the cast is that each of them has a strong personal connection to bullying, either as a bully or someone who has experienced bullying. During the audition, we asked the performers to share their thoughts on bullying and we were blown away by their personal experiences,“ Lisa says.
Lisa is passionate about promoting non-violence among young people. She is part of the Buddhist group, Soka Gakkai International of New Zealand (SGINZ) which is assisting ICAP with the NZ tour. Lisa and her husband, Dion Hitchins were active in SGINZ’s award winning programme Victory Over Violence Aotearoa, an anti-violence programme run by young volunteers in Auckland, Reporoa, Wellington and Dunedin.
“iChoose and VOV is about helping to break the cycle of violence among teenagers. A big part of these programmes is recognising passive violence, which according to Gandhi, is fuel for physical violence. In order to stop physical violence we need to identify and cut off the fuel supply,” she says.
“Getting involved in these programmes helped me to confront the history of depression in my family and helped Dion face the murder of a close family member by three teenagers.”
iChoose will be performed in ten Auckland high schools from 25 February 2013. There are plans to tour Wellington schools in 2014.
What: iChoose dress rehearsal. Open to the public.
When: Saturday 23 February 2013, 1.30pm – 3pm
Where: 40 Eaglehurst Road, Ellerslie, Auckland.
Entry is free.
More information on the International Committee of Artists of Peace (ICAP) can be found on www.icapeace.org.