Green leaves school singing blues
Chris Green used to help his students at Tawa College to excel at their music, theatre and choral events.
Now the former economics teacher has decided to turn his back on the classroom and pursue his own theatrical dream.
After more than 30 years as an economics teacher, he is launching his new career with a solo show in Upper Hutt, Coaltown Blues by Mervyn Thompson.
The leap isn’t such a surprise though – Green originally trained as a drama teacher, ‘‘but ended up teaching economics instead’’.
‘‘While I may not have taught drama I have certainly been involved in a multitude of school productions and musical shows.
‘‘It was great being able to work with people like Shona Murray, who was head of music at Tawa College.’’
A lifelong interest in music led to contacts in theatre. He’s appeared in numerous shows including Cabaret, Little Shop of Horrors, CATS and The Sound of Music and a recent sell-out season of Burlesque au Moulin.
He also created, organised and sang in the Voices for Christchurch concert.
Coaltown Blues is a story of author Mervyn Thompson’s childhood in a West Coast mining community.
‘‘ I started teaching in Greymouth. That was where I was first introduced to the play.’’
He started work on the production several years ago but other things came up and he was forced to shelve the idea.
‘‘Coming back to it was fabulous because if I had done it three years ago I would have enjoyed it but the things that have been happening down on the West Coast since then makes it that much more relevant.’’
The Pike River Mine disaster in 2010 eerily echoed themes in the play that includes the death of a miner in a mining accident and shutting down coal mines.
‘‘So it’s got all these other layers now that I’ve come back to it.’’
Green is particularly pleased to have secured Lindsey Rusling as director.
‘‘I probably wouldn’t have gone ahead unless I had a first-rate director.’’
Many would have started their new career in something less demanding than a solo show where he portrays multiple characters, male and female.
‘‘I agree – I’ve thrown myself in the deep end.’’
The show will be the first professional production in Upper Hutt College’s new Creative Arts Centre. If the inaugural season goes well he intends to tour.
‘‘This is the beginning. As long as it’s reasonably well received we’ll plan a national tour.’’
If it eventuates he would like to finish the tour in Greymouth.
‘‘It would have this kind of symmetry to it. I started the play where I finished teaching and then finished the play where I started teaching – that would be fabulous.’’
Coaltown Blues, February 21 - 24, 7.30pm, Creative Arts Centre Upper Hutt College. Tickets $20 through Iticket.co.nz or 974 4111.
Topical theme: Chris Green in character as for his solo show, Coaltown Blues by Mervyn Thompson.