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Baghdad Eisteddfod show 'teacher's idea'

Baghdad Eisteddfod show 'teacher's idea'
A controversial Sydney high school production attacked by the federal government as a political protest against US President George W Bush represents the views of a teacher, a student says.

The 2007 Rock Eisteddfod entry titled Bad Knight II, by Davidson High School in Sydney's north, includes students as young as 12.

The NSW Department of Education authority has dismissed claims by federal Education Minister Julie Bishop the school had hijacked the eisteddfod to make a political protest over Mr Bush's visit to the APEC summit in Sydney next month.

The production by Davidson High comes three years after another production by the same school, Bad Night In Baghdad, also made headlines for having an overtly political theme.

Lisa, a year 11 student involved in this year's production, said the political approach of the play came from one of the school's teachers and did not represent the views of all students.

"Obviously it was the teacher's idea but he always addresses to us, 'Have your own opinion on the war and what I say is not necessarily what you should believe,'" Lisa told ABC Radio.

"And it's not necessarily what I believe, but I do it because of the love of performing."

However, she challenged Ms Bishop's contention that student productions for Rock Eisteddfod are normally aimed against drug and alcohol abuse.

"With Rock Eisteddfod you've got to take a view of something and this is just a view we've decided to take this year," she said.

"We're all mature to take our own views on what we believe and what he (the teacher) believes isn't necessarily what I believe."

"It's obviously a very one-sided piece - very anti-war and stuff like that - but with Rock Eisteddfod you can't really tell it from both angles, you've got to give one angle for it."

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop believes the teacher's political agenda appears to be behind the performance and not in line with the Eisteddfod's aim of promoting a healthy lifestyle.

"I respect the right of students to perform material of their choice, but I find it rather interesting that the same school has coincidentally chosen the same theme three years apart," Ms Bishop told ABC Radio.

"There appears to be a teacher's political agenda here.

"And I think that's a shame, because I'm concerned that the message of the Rock Eisteddfod challenge will get lost if the event is hijacked in this way."

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Posted in: News by NewsBot on August 14, 2007 @ 12:00 AM

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