Ambitious starter role

BY LEE-ANNE EDWARDS
Last updated 10:00 12/02/2013
Coalweb
Topical theme: Chris Green in character for his solo show, Coaltown Blues by Mervyn Thompson.
Coalweb2
Career change: Chris Green is changing from the classroom to the stage.

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Chris Green has turned from the blackboard to the stage.

After more than 30 years as a teacher, the Hutt resident is pursuing his dream of becoming an actor.

He is launching his new career with a solo show, Coaltown Blues by Mervyn Thompson.

The leap is not such a surprise though - Green originally trained as a drama teacher "but ended up teaching economics instead".

"While I may not have taught drama I have certainly been involved in a multitude of school productions and musical shows."

Local audiences will know him through starring roles in Cabaret and the Little Shop of Horrors with the Hutt City Musical Theatre.

He also created, organised and sang in the Voices for Christchurch concert held in the Little Theatre.

In Wellington he has appeared in CATS, The Sound of Music and the recent sell-out season of Burlesque au Moulin.

Regulars at the Riverside Market will be familiar with his busking.

"Don't be surprised to see me handing out flyers for the show in the next couple of weeks."

Coaltown Blues is the story of author Mervyn Thompson's childhood growing up in a small mining community on the West Coast.

Green was introduced to the play during his first teaching post, in Greymouth.

He initially started work on the production several years ago but other things came up and he was forced to shelve the idea.

"Coming back to it was fabulous because if I had done it three years ago I would have enjoyed it but the things that have been happening down on the West Coast since then makes it that much more relevant."

The Pike River Mine disaster in 2010 eerily echoed themes in the play that includes the death of a miner and shutting down coal mines.

"So it's got all these other layers now that I've come back to it. It's quite exciting."

Green is particularly pleased to have secured Lindsey Rusling as director.

"The first thing I did was approach Lindsey. I probably wouldn't have gone ahead unless I had a first rate director."

Many would have started their new career in something less demanding than a solo show where he portrays multiple characters, male and female.

"I agree - I've thrown myself in the deep end."

The show will be the first professional production in Upper Hutt College's new Creative Arts Centre. If the inaugural season goes well he intends to take the production on tour.

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"This is the beginning. As long as it's reasonably well received, we'll plan a national tour."

If it eventuates he would like to finish the tour in Greymouth.

"It would have this kind of symmetry to it. I started the play where I finished teaching and then finished the play where I started teaching - that would be fabulous."

- February 21 to 24, 7.30pm, Creative Arts Centre Upper Hutt College. Tickets $20 through Iticket.co.nz or 974 4111.

- Hutt News

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