Taunya Kearns is a familiar face in Halswell because is she is often seen in local performances with the Halswell Drama Group and the Halswell Community Choir. This year, Taunya took on the brave task of writing the variety show's script called "Time Flies When You are Having Fun," as well as directing the show, singing, dancing and acting in the show.
Originally from Devon, England, Taunya moved here twelve years ago with husband Paul, and children Shannon and Calym . Paul was in the RAF so they have lived in various places all over Europe. They settled in New Zealand choosing Christchurch "because it felt like home" and Halswell because it was "close to the city but still had a village feel about it".
Shortly after arriving, Taunya joined the Halswell Drama Group to get to know local people. Acting and singing had also been something that she had always wanted to do, and in fact, apart from minor childhood roles, feels that "she had acted all through her life to overcome extreme shyness." This admission comes as a surprise to those who know Taunya today, as she oozes confidence, especially on the stage. Confidence has come as she has set herself more and more daring challenges, including playing a saloon madam and a male private detective. When asked what she loves about doing the shows, Taunya replied, "In acting, you can be any character; even it is is a villain or a character you don't like, you make it believable, entertain the audience and you make it your own."
Various influences shaped Taunya's script writng. Character dialogue was inspired by the questions that former writer and director Marie Manna would ask to encourage the actor's to think deeply about character background. Bertram, one of this year's main characters, was a wealthy man who had never lived "outside of his traditional business world" so re-opening a long-closed theatre was a very exciting new adventure for him. Anthea, another main character, was "money-hungry" and she frequently referred to the risks involved. Taunya had also wanted to focus on the 1970s, but then realised much of the audience wouldn't have been born by then so the time frame needed to be extended. Inspiration for the time travel sequences came from "Dr Who". She set out to write a show that would have something for everyone: music, mystery, romance, history and humour, and clearly succeeded as the show was very warmly received.
Next year's show is in the planning stages and the drama group is currently advertising for people in key production roles: Director, Musical Director, Choreographer and so on. Auditions are in April. "We are always looking for new talent, new people, especially of the male variety. Don't think about whether you can sing, dance or act; just think about trying. Come along and have a go!" advises Taunya.