Rose Hudson: Acting her age and loving it
Rose Hudson’s idea of acting her age is taking her clothes off on stage. Rose, 79, disrobed in Porirua Little Theatre’s production of Calendar Girls last year.
‘‘My son told me to act my age and I said, ‘Darling, that’s what I was doing’. My grandchildren were so embarrassed.’’
Performing arts has played an important part in Rose’s life since she and late husband Brian first took the stage in Titahi Bay.
The pair arrived as penniless students in 1958 and found jobs teaching at Porirua schools.
Their friend, a Titahi Bay doctor, offered them the flat behind his surgery if they joined the local theatre group.
‘‘We agreed at once. We needed the flat, but we really needed stardom.’’
The couple took the stage hundreds of times, taking turns in the limelight.
‘‘One of us would be walking the boards while the other would be backstage with the pip.’’
Two children were born in Porirua before the couple blew their savings on tickets to London, Brian worked for the BBC and Rose taught for 10 years.
Two more children were born in London before the family returned to Porirua.
Rose taught at Titahi Bay School, where she shared her love of the theatre with her students.
‘‘The naughtiest boy in the school nicked the script out of my bag and auditioned for our production of Lord Nelson.
‘‘We thought he couldn’t read until Napoleon came along.’’
She was teaching at Titahi Bay Intermediate in the mid-80s when Maori language became part of the curriculum.
‘‘I couldn’t speak a word of Maori. I’ve never been able to learn languages.’’
She got around the issue by getting her pupils to help.
‘‘We had a lot of children from Takapuwahia who spoke Maori, so they would take turns at preparing the lesson. They got to teach us their language.’’
Rose taught correspondence school in the Falkland Islands by accident. She applied by mail because a friend wanted to collect a Falklands stamp from the return letter.
We had a lot of children from Takapuwahia who spoke Maori, so they would take turns at preparing the lesson. They got to teach us their language.
To her surprise the application was accepted and she spent 13 months in the Falklands.
‘‘It was meant to be 12 months, but there was a bit of an uprising and they closed the airport.’’
She wrote a pantomime for her pupils, who acted their parts over the two-way radio. Children from 40 houses played took part.
‘‘I was in hysterics. It was the funniest thing ever.’’
Between teaching and acting Rose wrote for New Zealand newspapers. One of the pieces she wrote was about her time in New York the day the twin towers came down.
"We were on our way to take a lift to see the views from the roof and saw the explosion from Fifth Avenue. It was scary stuff."
Rose and Brian were awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for their services to community theatre.
Rose lives in Karori now, but owns a boatshed at Titahi Bay.
‘‘No dirty boat though. It’s more of a bordello, where we drink wine.’’
She has worked with the Porirua Community Arts Council for 20 years and dreams of seeing a performing arts centre next to Pataka museum.
‘‘We’d have the arts world at our feet and all the boarded-up shops thriving.’’
She’s heading to Scandinavia on her own shortly for a holiday.
‘‘I’m going by boat just to make things difficult. I’ve always enjoyed an adventure.’’
Rose Hudson has always enjoyed an adventure.