Rose Hud­son: Act­ing her age and lov­ing it

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

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.’’

PHOTO; VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

Rose Hud­son has al­ways en­joyed an ad­ven­ture.

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