Gregg Perkins from Pahiatua has received a Meritorious Service Award from Theatre New Zealand.
"My love of theatre began in the 50s when my parents sent me to the Mattie Gibson School of Speech and Drama," said Gregg. "I'm not sure whether this was for my benefit or theirs, providing some child-free time! However I enjoyed it and discovered the art.
"Jump forward to the early 70s when I was settled in Wakefield near Nelson. A meeting was held in the Village Hall to revive the in-recess Country Players and the group went on to be one of the most successful theatre societies in the district, and of course, still is – I'm a life member.
"Beside acting, I also directed, worked backstage operating light and sound, and front of house. A large number of plays, musicals and one-act plays making the finals of Theatrefest.
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"Country Players also instigated their own version of Theatre Restaurant which became very popular. We also attracted the interest of a junior reporter at the Nelson Evening Mail, Kim Hill, who reviewed us with her inimitable acerbic wit!
"Moving to Pahiatua in 2005, I joined Pahiatua Repertory and have played many roles since both on stage and off stage, also enjoying several tilts at the Norfolk Island Trans Tasman trophy.
"I was involved in the administration of Country Players as secretary, treasurer, president and was a member of the Nelson/Marlborough District Committee of Theatre Federation. Subsequently treasurer of Pahiatua Repertory and NZ Theatre Federation, and treasurer of Drama Development Trust.
"Whilst I still enjoy my role with Pahiatua Repertory , the society needs some new blood to continue its progress. We are happy to impart our knowledge and experience to anyone who is interested in the theatre as a hobby, which takes me full circle back to the early days at Mattie Gibson's. Join us, it's a lot of fun," he said.