She was born in the UK and has travelled the world working for Disney Cruise Lines for seven years, but it's Taranaki that Helen Lindley says feels like home to her.

The new manager of the TET Kings Theatre in Stratford says she came to Taranaki as it is her partner's home town.

"As soon as we got here I realised it was the perfect place to live and we decided to settle here." Helen heard about the potential role at the TET Kings Theatre, and it immediately appealed, she says.

"I was a senior broadcast technician for Disney Cruise Lines and the skills I developed in that role are a perfect fit for this job."


Helen says she was thrilled to see the opportunity advertised, as jobs in her industry aren't that commonly available.

"So to be able to live where we wanted to live and get work in my field was really great."

On first seeing Stratford's historic movie theatre, Helen says she was even more excited.
"Immediately I could see the great potential the place has, and loved the strong sense of history it has in the town."

Seeing the old movie projectors and posters made her feel right at home she says.

"Movie history and the technical side of it has always been a real passion of mine."
Helen says she believes theatres like Kings Theatre are far more special than large movie theatre complexes.

"You don't get the same atmosphere there at all. Going to the theatre in a venue like Kings makes it a special event, and something to be treasured."

Helen plans to encourage more people to come to the local theatre and to rediscover the thrill and magic of an independent movie theatre.

"It's about the whole experience, not just the movie itself."

She plans to hold parent and child sessions, where parents can bring their children and not worry if they are noisy at times.

"By having special sessions for this, parents can come and enjoy a movie without having to find a babysitter, and they don't have to worry if their child cries or makes a noise. We want people to feel welcome here."

Other ideas include offering the use of the theatre for fundraising events, which have already started.

"A local school PTA held one and we have another one coming up soon.

"We will also consider doing these to raise funds for the theatre itself down the track, as it is a great fundraising opportunity." With a stage behind the screen, Helen says she also wants to have "at least" two or three productions take place on the stage each year.

"From music concerts to school plays to local theatre groups, I want the community to feel this is their place and it is the place where all great entertainment happens."

She is also looking forward to showing some older, more classic movies.

"I think everyone enjoys a bit of a throwback at times, and it's great to introduce some great classic movies to a new generation."

As for her favourites, Helen says she is an avid Disney fan, with Pocahontas her favourite Disney movie, and for a general movie, The Secret Garden is top of her list.

"It's just timeless. I watch it as often as I can, and it never gets old. In fact, that one and The Railway Children, which is another favourite of mine, I used to have on VHS tape, and I wore the tapes out from playing them so often."