Nelson Leader : April 18th 2013
5 THE NELSON LEADER, APRIL 18, 2013 FEATURE Ready...Action! Celebrating 150 years of humanitarian ser vice Tasman Red Cross Area Council Forum Saturday, 20 April, 10am-12.30pm Kowhai Lounge, NMIT Student Centre, 322 Hardy Street, Nelson Tasman Red Cross and Refugee Services members, volunteers and staff are invited. The public interested to learn more about Red Cross in their community and how they can participate are welcome. RSVP 03 546-5012 firstname.lastname@example.org by 18 April 5313883AB Supported by Phone 546 6336 or 0800 167 167 5265849AA A life dedicated to theatrical youth Two minutes w ith... Hard taskmaster: Nelson Youth Theatre director and producer Richard Carruthers. Photo: PHIL BARNES Richard Carruthers is the founder and has been both director and producer of the Nelson Youth Theatre Company for 13 years. In that time the community group has put on nearly 140 productions. In the month before each show, Richard puts in 60 hours a week, in addition to juggling family time and working 40 hours a week in his day job as an osteopath. The youth theatre has more than 200 young people on its books and is about to perform its 138th show, Cats, from April 21 and 139th show, All Shook Up, from April 29, both at the Theatre Royal. Richard took two minutes out of his busy schedule to talk to The Leader. How old were you when you first got into acting? I was 11 years old when I was cast as the sun god Atahualpa in Peter Schaffer s Royal Hunt of the Sun at primary school in England. I think I got the part because I was the only one who could pull off some sort of non- English accent. How old were you when you directed your first play? I was 38, and the play was called Where's the Bathroom? a delightful little comedy written by a 13-year-old boy called Ralph Upton. Ralph is now running his own theatre company in Wellington. You've produced 140 productions over the past 13 years. What's kept you going? The huge energy that youth theatre kids give out, coupled with the love that s shared in this big theatre family when everyone s pulling together to stage a big show season. What would be your high- lights out of all those productions? The youth theatre s first show, Surgical Sensations at St Sennapods, the best little musical that nobody has ever heard of. On a budget of $500, we lost $50. The best comedy was Perfect Wedding, best drama Equus, best musical a three-way tie between Les Miserables (2007), Chicago (2011) and Les Miserables (2012) with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra. What are the most inspirational books you have read? Fifty Key Theatre Directors, The Celestine Prophecy and How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have -- terrible title, great book! What's your favourite quote from any show? From Les Miserables, Jean Valjean s dying line: And remember the truth that once was spoken, to love another person is to see the face of God. What's the best piece of advice you can give anyone wanting to be a professional actor? Theatre is a fantastic hobby. You learn a huge range of awesomely useful life skills, but it s almost impossible to get regular paid work as an actor. If you ve got the de- termination and the right head for it though, become a professional director, because then you create the work you need to survive and can pick up paid acting work along the way. What drives you to work so hard with your actors? I was a top schoolboy crick- eter, won a national fast bowl- ing competition when I was 17 and could have gone on to a career as a professional Eng- lish cricketer but I had no-one inspirational to coach me, no- one to bash my ego on the head and make me knuckle down and focus on the ele- ments of my game that needed work. I try to fulfil that role with the enormously talented kids I work with in the youth theatre. I m a hard taskmaster, pushing them, keeping egos in check and never letting them get lazy or complacent in their work. Talent is nothing without a great deal of hard work to sustain it.
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