One of the things I really enjoy about writing these Rep Talk articles is that I get to have more in-depth discussions with people I thought I knew fairly well, then finding a hidden well of experience and expertise lurking below the surface.
When one of rep committee members suggested writing an article about April Pearson, our newest addition to the ranks of life members, I readily agreed. Good idea. April has been the convener of our monthly play reading group for a number of years now, organising the readings for a fairly congenial group. It's always a pleasant evening.
People don't always realise the depth of April's drama experience.
"I was in the drama club at Wellington Teachers' College. I became totally immersed in drama and I directed their end of year production in my second year. I also attended Drama School, learning the techniques and craft of radio drama. I was told I had a good voice for radio and should seek a career in radio drama. I was in several radio plays with well known actors such as Grant Tilley and Ray Henwood. Davina Whitehouse directed some of them and she was amazing."
Drama took a back seat when April became absorbed in primary school teaching. "I absolutely loved primary school teaching and didn't see the need to finish my degree."
I always thought April had met her husband Ken when she was teaching but she said she'd met Ken at university.
"When I married and went to live in Auckland I became a fulltime mother and support person to my husband and I was quite happy to do that. Ken was always busy acting and singing. I did whatever was needed like sewing costumes, ushering, etc."
What does she enjoy about the play reading group?
"I enjoy the research, the biographical notes and the discussions. Some of the plays bring up contentious issues so the discussions are often quite in-depth. Of course some of the plays are very funny too."
April Pearson is also a very well known potter. "I've been doing pottery for about 50 years now and teaching pottery in schools for about 45 years. I was on the staff of the polytechnic in the ceramics department and now I teach for the local potters society. My own work is mainly conceptual pieces for exhibitions now," she says.
For the past 18 or 19 years April has served as a volunteer for the Citizens Advice Bureau.
"I like helping people."
The Repertory Theatre Committee made an excellent choice in selecting April as its most recent life member, a well deserved honour for giving years of enjoyment to others. Thanks April.