WHAT IS THEATRE? Is it the place where you watch a drama? Is it something to do with acting on (or off) stage? Or is it simply what you want it to be? More than 70 students from 10 secondary schools have found different answers to this seemingly big question through a government-run educational programme over the past seven months. And you will be able to share their findings this weekend at their debut theatre production titled Classics Re-invented: Hundred Years Of Solitude. Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Depart-ment (LCSD) and local theatre group Zuni Icosahedron, the show is part of a programme called 'Multi-media Theatre in Education Scheme', which comes under the School Arts Animateur Scheme. The main aim of this initiative is to promote appreciation of the performing arts among students. The LCSD is due to announce the line-up of the School Arts Animateur Scheme for year 2003/04 next week. According to Zuni's creative co-ordinator Wong Yue-wai, the programme has given participants a chance to gain a better understanding of theatre. 'After a series of workshops, the final performance is a review of what they have learnt,' he says. 'However, it is hard to say whether the programme has been a success or not because, as with any long-term educational initiatives, you probably won't see any results till later.' This year, the participating schools are Queen's College, HKSKH Bishop Hall Secondary School, Ju Ching Chu Secondary School (Kwai Chung), St Catherine's School for Girls, Po Leung Kuk Tong Nai Kan College, Holy Carpenter Prevocational School, St Mary's Church College, Sacred Heart Canossian College, Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing School and St Paul's School (Lam Tin). The Multi-media Theatre in Education Scheme is divided into three phases: students are first given, in their own school hall, a demonstration performance by professional artists followed by a discussion. After the performance interested students are invited to sign up for a series of media workshops that include new media/video, sound/music, drama, visual/installation art and stage technical art. The final phase involves an open performance featuring what the students have learnt from the workshops under the guidance of professional artists and, in this case, Zuni. This year's theme is based on Nobel Laureate of Literature Gabriel Garcia Marquez's classic One Hundred Years Of Solitude. The goal is to help students 'build up models of their own and keep refining them until they become various 'new' models'. 'We encouraged students to express themselves in a free environment through multimedia,' he explains. 'The final performance is divided into different sketches. Some are put together by a group, others individually. 'Interestingly, the most shy and quiet student will present a solo piece in which he will draw what he sees on stage from the audience stand. The whole process will be videotaped and shown during intermission. He is a good artist and we want to highlight his strength. 'With this solo piece we'll be able to show what the student does best naturally without forcing him to change or become someone else.' Next year, the theme of the Multi-media Theatre in Education Scheme will be 'Through the Eyes of Aileen Chang'. It will again be jointly run by the LCSD and Zuni. Interested? The LCSD will be sending out more information about this programme (and many more) to schools next week. Approach your school principal for more details or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk Classics Re-invented: Hundred Years Of Solitude, tomorrow and Sunday, 7.30pm, Sheung Wan Civic Centre, admission is $40 for students.