Hen­wood epit­o­mises Fes­ti­val of El­e­ments

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By BERNIE GRIF­FIN

Ac­tor Ray Hen­wood will be giv­ing solo per­for­mances in Porirua on Wai­tangi Day as part of the Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments cel­e­bra­tions.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser Mar­garet Ar­mour said Hen­wood epit­o­mised what the fes­ti­val was about.

‘‘The fes­ti­val is about cel­e­brat­ing the blend­ing of New Zealand’s mul­ti­cul­tural char­ac­ter,’’ she said.

‘‘Ray Hen­wood fits into the scene per­fectly, not only for what he has achieved pro­fes­sion­ally, but through his own story and his her­itage.’’

The Welsh-born ac­tor came to New Zealand while in his 20s and quickly de­cided it was where he wanted to set­tle.

‘‘Theatre here was very, very strong at that time,’’ Hen­wood said, ‘‘ but re­ally still at an am­a­teur level, be­cause its pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment had stalled with the demise of the New Zealand Play­ers.

’’ The for­ma­tion of Down­stage in 1965 and the devel­op­ment of tele­vi­sion helped bring changes and we all moved into a new era.’’

Hen­wood said it was an ex­cit­ing time. ‘‘We were like pioneers in many ways, break­ing new ground, be­ing in­no­va­tive, em­brac­ing new tech­nol­ogy and learn­ing as we went.

‘‘There was a wealth of tal­ent, not only with the ac­tors, but right through the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing play­wrights, scriptwrit­ers, producers, di­rec­tors, cam­era peo­ple, stage hands, makeup and wardrobe. And, of course, there were the au­di­ences, whose sup­port was in­valu­able.’’

Hen­wood’s list of cred­its ranges from be­ing Moro Man to act­ing in Glid­ing On, The

Hobbit, Sec­ond Hand Wed­ding, Heav­enly Crea­tures and Lord of the Rings.

His per­for­mance at the Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments will fea­ture some of his favourite read­ings taken from roles he has played over 50 years.

Hen­wood said he con­sid­ered him­self as Kiwi through and through.

‘‘I love this coun­try – how can I think oth­er­wise? It has given me the op­por­tu­ni­ties to be the per­son I want to be and to do the things I want to do.

‘‘I’m proud to be part of the Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments in Porirua, which re­minds us what Wai­tangi Day it­self is re­ally about.’’

Through the mir­ror: Ac­tor Ray Hen­wood gets into char­ac­ter for his solo per­for­mance of A Christ­mas Carol at Circa Theatre.

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