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Putting on a show . . . Judith Bingham is directing and acting in the Oamaru Repertory Society's production of Blithe Spirit. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

Anyone keen to meet new people and develop skills ranging from acting to construction to lighting is welcome in Itchen St.

That’s where the Oamaru Repertory Society gathers to put on a variety of plays and entertainments throughout the year.

The society is eager to bolster its ranks with new people – not just those who want to appear on stage, but also those who can help with costumes, props, sound, building and decorating sets, creating lighting effects, and becoming stage managers.

Long-serving member Judith Bingham, who is directing the next play, said some of the specialists who had been in charge of these departments for years were in their 70s and 80s and would need to step back soon.

She said she could recommend the society as a great place not only to make costumes but to make friends.

As a newcomer to Oamaru at the beginning of the millennium, Miss Bingham was accepted warmly into the group and enjoyed turning her hand to whatever was needed.

The camaraderie shared by people working towards a common goal was strong in repertory theatre, she said. There were always plenty of laughs, leading up to the satisfaction of seeing audiences delighting in a show.

She believed many people would love what repertory offered, if only they knew about it.

The forthcoming production, Jeeves at Sea, is a chance for new talent to come forward. The script has been adapted by Margaret Raether from the works of British humorist P.G. Wodehouse.

Jeeves is an impeccable English valet to young aristocrat Bertie Wooster. They are holidaying on Lady Stella Vanderley’s yacht in the south of France with Bertie’s chum, Sir Percival Everard Crumpworth, known as Crumpet.

When Crumpet reveals he may have murdered a prince at a casino, he is sought out by that man’s equerry, who happens to be the former boyfriend of Lady Stella’s companion.

Before long, Crumpet is pretending to be his own long-lost twin while Bertie, masquerading as a romance novelist, is challenged to a duel on the yacht.

Jeeves must manipulate multiple mistaken identities to prevent his master from being murdered – or worse, married.

The play will be staged by the Oamaru Repertory Society in November, but in a new format across three weeks. That would give the public plenty of opportunities to choose a time that suited.

The middle week would coincide with the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations, and the third week would be ideal for workplace Christmas outings, Miss Bingham said.

The bar and green room in the society’s historic premises would be open.

Auditions are being held over two days to try to accommodate every prospective cast member. They begin on Sunday, August 18, at 2pm and continue the next night at 7pm.

Scripts are available beforehand by phoning or texting Miss Bingham after 7pm on 021 223-8255.