Come out and play: therapeutic theatre needs newbies

Pukekohe Performing Arts club committee meets

Pukekohe Performing Arts club committee meets

Pukekohe Performing Arts has too much middle-aged spread. In fact, middle aged people are spread so thin, they’ve almost vanished from Pukekohe stages.

Older members and youth are contributing to the organisation formerly known as Pukekohe Light Opera Club, but as a performance celebrating 40 years is rehearsed for its September 4 opening, technical director, Chris Kasner, says people aged 20 to 60 are sorely needed.

“It’s because those are the people with families and less spare time,” Chris told We Love Pukekohe.

“Most of our members now are people who have been members for a while and we’re missing a lot of youth.

“In the show we’re doing now, we had quite a lot of children who auditioned, we have 12-14 kids in the cast for children’s choruses. A lot have come from dance classes instead of schools.”

Chris Kasner

Chris Kasner

Chris says the PPA’s strongest show ever occurred only last year, with the musical review ‘Strike A Chord’. Still, PLOC changed its name to PPA in an effort to rejuvenate.

Theatre is therapeutic, Chris says: “Forgetting about my day job is the exact reason I got involved in theatre, for the euphoria, the excitement of being involved in something and the challenge of doing a good job.”

He says PPA is a hub for all extroverts and creative people, from singers to comedians to artists.

“It’s for people who love to sing, it’s for all forms of expression, we have work available. We even need engineers to set up lights.”

Chris brought decades of experience to Franklin when he moved here in 1999.

“I worked with the ‘Children’s Theatre Workshop’ of Toledo Ohio for 15 years as technical director.

“I had a company for 15 years which built scenery and sets for theatres; I was director of technical theatre at universities in USA; I had a cable TV show where I introduced movies; I did a few TV commercials when I moved to New Zealand, as a performer.”

Before he arrived in Franklin, Chris avoided assassination by only a century: “Back in Toledo, I did shows at the Croswell Opera House – that’s where John Wilkes Booth used to perform before he shot Lincoln.

“There was a very long period of time when PLOC was the theatre in Pukekohe. It has a history of really good productions and shows. Two things involved with our 40th anniversary show: we want to highlight that history, including original cast members from the 1970s and ’80s. We want them as guest performers to do one song from those days.

“Over the last few years PPA has drifted off a bit, so we want to reintroduce it to the community. I want to kickstart the club again.”

Don’t be a play-hater – help Chris Kasner kickstart stage art.

Find them on Facebook under, ahem, Pukekohe Light Opera Club – or


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About the Author
Pukekohe man Mike Botur has written for the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times, North & South and Mana Magazines. He is the author of two collections of fiction. You'll see Mike running with his kids in the pram most weekends. Contact Mike at or 021 299 0984.
  1. Chris Kasner Reply

    Great story – and YES, we DO need people in all areas. Experience NOT required.

  2. Anne Doddrell Reply

    Great article!

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