There isn't much Nick Wilkinson hasn't done in Hamilton theatre. No surprise really since he's been involved since his time at St John's College, when he first hit the stage in the school production of Grease.
He made the transition to the Hamilton Operatic Society when he left school, appearing initially in the 1995 Christmas performance and has turned up on stage at pretty much every performance since.
Now Wilkinson's latest turn is as master of ceremonies for the Full House Productions season of Improv Combat, which opens at the Meteor Theatre in Hamilton on Sunday.
Unlike the improv teams taking part, he'll know what's required of him when he gets on stage.
Often compared to television show Whose Line Is It Anyway, improv comprises teams of performers making things up as they go along, based on suggestions from the host and the audience.
Two judges - Zoe Vaile and Ross MacLeod - and the audience (acting as a live Clap-O-Meter) will rate the performances with the winning teams each night going forward to an eventual final on October 28.
Improv Combat runs every Sunday at the Meteor for seven weeks with two teams of three doing battle each week.
Included in the teams are theatre studies students, high school students and a range of people who are simply keen to take part.
Each show lasts for 2 hours and teams are put through 16 different improv games, largely based on audience suggestions.
Wilkinson says things such as Improv Combat would have been unthinkable when he first started treading the boards in Hamilton.
"When I started in 1995, there was Hamilton Operatic and the Riverlea and not much else," he says.
"Now there are about 10 different groups so it's neat to be part of that growth. I've still got a passion for it and there's so much variety in town now."
And while he's done his fair share of improv in the past, Wilkinson is enjoying the MC side of the performances.
"I was into acting, not singing and I don't dance. I'm too old and I look ridiculous."
Each Sunday performance starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost $9.90, with audience members given the option of rounding it up to $10 and donating the extra 10 cents to Parent to Parent, a charity providing support for family members of people with disabilities.
- Waikato Times