She is just 17 years old, but Lily Stock could easily be mistaken for a seasoned professional of the stage.
Performing is in her blood, after all: her grandfather, Nigel Stock, was an English actor, of stage, screen, radio and television, who became a household name in the UK for his portrayal of Dr Watson in a series of Sherlock Holmes dramas for BBC television.
On Saturday night, Lily followed in his footsteps, hosting the sixth annual Otago Southland Theatre Awards (Ostas) at St Kevin’s College, in front of more than 200 people from theatrical societies throughout Otago and Southland.
The opportunity came as a surprise to the Waitaki Girls’ High School deputy head girl, after initially joking about it with Musical Theatre Oamaru president Daniel Martin.
“Two weeks later, he said ‘hi, do you want to be the Ostas host? Doug Kamo wants to you be the Ostas host’,” she said.
A lot of work had gone into preparing for the role – she had 10 pages of hosting notes and was tasked with writing and performing an original number to open the show.
“I had 1001 emails from Anna [Langford] and Doug, not only because of this, but because I was actually doing a charity event for them as well – so my inbox was clogged up,” she said.
Even though performing arts was in her blood, it was not until last year that she really pursued it.
“I’d always been pretty confident at public speaking and things like that and I’d done a few school things – really little, though; nothing big,” she said.
But after playing Sharpay Evans in the combined Waitaki Girls’ and Boys’ High School production of High School Musical, then the lead role of Sophie in Musical Theatre Oamaru’s Mamma Mia! last year, she was hooked.
“I love it, I just love it and I’d do it for the rest of my life if it wasn’t such a hard industry,” she said.
Next year, she plans to go to university, but is still deciding where and what she will study.
“I can’t decide if I want to go here or in England, and I’d like to do a double degree and do law and performing arts,” she said.
“They’re complete opposites – but it’d be the best of both worlds. That would be awesome.”
It was Musical Theatre Oamaru’s night to shine at the Ostas.
Its 2018 production of Mamma Mia! received six awards from 15 nominations, including best overall production, best sound, best supporting female in a musical (Sonya Creedy), best musical direction (Sam van Betuw), best direction (Russell Dixon) and best leading female in a musical (Krissy McGeown).
Mamma Mia! co-producer Melissa Yockney said the awards were a credit to all of the Musical Theatre Oamaru “family” involved in the production, whether on stage, above stage, in front of it, behind it, or under it.
“And thank you to our wonderful Oamaru community for coming along to see the show – we couldn’t have done it without you,” Miss Yockney said.
Full results: Best makeup and hair: Musical Theatre Dunedin (Priscilla Queen of the Desert); best properties: West Otago Theatrical Society (Les Miserables); best sound: Musical Theatre Oamaru Mamma Mia!); best lighting and vision: Taieri Musical Society (Ovation); best wardrobe: Taieri Musical Society Ovation); best set: Gore Musical Theatre Shrek the Musical Jnr): best vocal work company: Taieri Musical Society Ovation); best ensemble: Invercargill Musical Theatre Grease: Arena Spectacular); best cameo performance: Harriet Moir (Musical Theatre Dunedin, Priscilla Queen of the Desert): best supporting female in a musical: Sonya Creedy (Musical Theatre Oamaru, Mamma Mia!); best supporting male in a musical: Craig Wadsworth (West Otago Theatrical Society, Les Miserables); best supporting female in a play: Sarah Barham (Remarkable Theatre, Away); best supporting male in a play: Nick Meissel (Clyde Theatre Group, Daughters of Heaven); best leading female in a musical: Krissy McGeown (Musical Theatre Oamaru, Mamma Mia!); best leading female in a play: Hannah Anderson (Clyde Theatre Group, Daughters of Heaven); best leading male in a musical: Bruce Potter (West Otago Theatrical Society, Les Miserables); best leading male in a play: Keith Richardson (Taieri Dramatic Society, Bangers-n-Mash); best choreography: Emma Holloway (Taieri Musical Society, Ovation); best musical direction: Sam van Betuw (Musical Theatre Oamaru, Mamma Mia!); best direction: Russell Dixon (Musical Theatre Oamaru, Mamma Mia!); best overall production Musical Theatre Oamaru (Mamma Mia!).