Henwood epitomises Festival of Elements
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.