Historical re-enactment

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 14:39 12/02/2013
Kit Stevens
Jared Nicolls
First Class: Actors Kit Stevens and Tiffany Jane, in colonial character, bring the Edwin Fox to life.

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Picton people are pushing for the creation of a new tourism venture to celebrate the town's colonial history, starting with the Edwin Fox.

Alison Gross Productions manager Kit Stevens will present a pilot script for a colonial re-enactment show where actors will play characters who sailed on the world's ninth oldest wooden troop ship and will perform on the Edwin Fox at Picton to the Marlborough Heritage Trust and tourism operators by the end of February.

The show will be expanded to cover other historical events of interest in Picton, possibly such as the 1843 Wairau Affray, if the Edwin Fox performances prove popular.

Dressed in colonial costume while welcoming passengers off the cruise ship Amsterdam in Picton on Monday, Mr Stevens said he was finalising a pilot script for the actors, who would portray the people who sailed on the Edwin Fox. They would turn the hollow hull into a "living museum".

The plans would be presented to the Marlborough Heritage Trust and tourism operators before the end of the month and he hoped to have the first professional colonial re-enactment show performed at the Edwin Fox shortly after.

If a success, the company would look at expanding into providing other shows covering historic sites around Picton, which would help promote the town by celebrating its history.

A large-scale re-enactment of the 1843 Wairau Affray, in which four Maori and 22 British died in armed conflict over what was originally a land dispute, was a possibility.

Mr Stevens shifted to the area after leaving his home in Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake. He formerly managed colonial re-enactment shows in the garden city.

Museum manager Karen McLeod said the museum debuted the dressed-up actors during the Picton Maritime Festival in January, at which up to 500 people enjoyed the sights and sounds of a colonial voyage.

Although no firm plans were in place, the museum would be "happy to accommodate" a colonial show on a regular basis when it was ready.

"We'd be happy to help him get it off the ground. It would be a fantastic thing for Marlborough, but nothing is confirmed yet."

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- The Marlborough Express

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