Cur­tain falls on Lit­tle The­atre stal­wart

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - LUKE KIRKEBY

The Toko­roa Lit­tle The­atre’s cur­tain has fallen for the fi­nal time for long time mem­ber Iris Men­zies.

Af­ter al­most 30 years Men­zies, who has been in­volved in ev­ery­thing from act­ing, mak­ing props, and di­rect­ing, is say­ing good­bye and mov­ing to Auck­land with her hus­band to be closer to fam­ily.

She said the de­ci­sion was hard to make but now felt like the right time.

‘‘It is a wrench as I love this lit­tle the­atre. I walk in here and I re­mem­ber when the cur­tain was red, the seats were all ripped out, and when the walls were black,’’ she said.

‘‘All those mem­o­ries. I am very sad, I don’t want to think about it at all, but I only have one child and two grand­chil­dren who are now 16 and 15 so it will be a chance to spend more time with them.’’

Men­zies de­scribed the the­atre as the ‘‘best thing that has been in [her] life’’ from which she has made many life­long friends.

‘‘I first came to Toko­roa in 1966 and my son was born in Toko­roa hos­pi­tal in 67. We stayed un­til around 1974 and then came back again in 1981,’’ she said.

‘‘We then left af­ter buy­ing a mo­tel in Tau­ranga and then my hus­band died so I came back to Toko­roa in 2002 and met my present hus­band.’’

‘‘It has been a bit of a come and go af­fair but each time I have come back to Toko­roa the first thing I have done is join up with the the­atre again and as long as I was here I was in­volved in ev­ery pro­duc­tion.’’

‘‘The the­atre is so lovely, I have al­ways loved it as it has got ev­ery­thing a the­atre should. Quite of­ten I come in on my own and there is al­ways a feel­ing that wraps it­self around you,’’ she said.

She said her most fond mem­ory was act­ing in the Jan de Har­tog writ­ten play The Four­poster in 1971.

‘‘It was about the aging of a cou­ple who had mar­ried and was cen­tred around this bed, the four­poster, and what hap­pened in their life,’’ she said.

‘‘It was just me and Jack Wal­ley and it was a fan­tas­tic play to be in­volved in, it re­ally was.’’

‘‘My last play ear­lier this year was You Can Al­ways Hand Them Back which was very sim­i­lar and I said at the time it was my swan song. I didn’t ac­tu­ally know at the time that it would be but I just felt it was the pin­na­cle. I won’t join another the­atre be­cause there will never be another Toko­roa Lit­tle The­atre,’’ she said.

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