Fundraiser for Huntly Museum

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By Hunter Calder

Pianist Nick Braee and Chris Green only met this week - but soon they'll be touring the Waikato performing playwright Mervyn Thompson's Coaltown Blues performance.

Nick Braee will be accompanying Chris Green playing the piano while Mr Green sings and performs - solo.

Mr Green says the play tells the story of Mervyn Thompson growing up on the West Coast in Runanga in the 1980's during the depression.

"It's his family story, it's his childhood story. He talks about his mother and father and his two little sisters and his schoolmates, and his teacher, and all of the people when he started working, so it's all of those stories."

Mr Green says the themes are "pretty dark", but family violence and political turmoil are still relevant today.

As a solo performer playing multiple characters Mr Green he's reliant on his own performance - with the assistance of the piano and lighting.

"The origin of each of the characters for me comes from how do they speak, what do they sound like, and gradually the others bits, the shape of their body the way they gesture the way they think fits into those things. If I can find a voice I can find a character."

Mr Greens tour begins this Friday in Huntly - a fitting place for a coal mining story.

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That's one reason he's donating the Huntly show profits to the Waikato Coalfields Museum - which is without a permanent home after moving out of their old building which was no longer fit for housing collectibles.

The museum's chairperson, Denise Lamb says the collections are currently in storage at the Huntly Civic Centre.

"At the moment we are temporarily housed here until we decide what we are going to do and where are we going to go."

Mrs Lamb says original plans to build a new facility at Lake Puketirini are now unlikely - as it would cost more than three million dollars - money the museum doesn't have.

Instead, the Museum's board is considering converting the Civic Centre into a more permanent exhibition space.

"The board would like to stay where we are. We think this is a really cool site. It's in town, it's by the bus stop, it's right beside the library. We think it's a good place and we'd be happy to stay here if council agree to us staying here."

Tickets for the performance are available at the Civic Centre.

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