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In her honour: Retiring Showbiz committee member Hilary Finnie, left, presents a new excellence award, named in her honour, to Showbiz's Vicki Elliott at the society's recent AGM

By PHILIP CHANDLER

An Arrowtowner has exited stage left after an incredible 31 years’ involvement with Queenstown’s musical society.

Life member Hilary Finnie, who stepped down from Showbiz Queenstown’s committee at its recent AGM, was not only presented with flowers, but got to present a new annual ‘award for excellence’ named in her honour.

Her involvement started when Showbiz put on Godspell in 1990.

‘‘Sandy Cochrane was on the committee and Fae Robertson, who used to look after publicity, was having a back operation and Sandy said, ‘I know someone that’s good at publicity, she might like to do it while Fae’s away’.’’

Since that time, Finnie has ‘‘looked after publicity’’ for just about every show.

An exception came when she worked for Shotover Jet in Fiji for four years from ‘94, however even then she popped back for every show — ‘‘I did front-of-house or something
like that because I really enjoyed it’’.

Since returning, she’s been on the committee pretty much non-stop since ‘99.

In addition, she was production manager for several shows and also served as secretary till four years ago.

‘‘I ended up doing more than any one person should have.’’

Asked what she’s enjoyed about the society, Finnie says: ‘‘The thing with Showbiz always
has been that it brings people together who normally wouldn’t come together, so you get this wonderful, amazing group of people both on-stage and off-stage.’’

She enjoyed watching performers progress from ‘‘seeing them at auditions when they’re all nervous, and then having the director come and mould them into the finished product, which is pretty amazing for a small community’’.

She says she’s been fobbing off various responsibilities in recent years.

Stepping down allows ‘‘some absolutely fantastic young people on the committee that have got vitality and passion’’ to learn the ropes.

Asked her Showbiz favourites, she singles out Cabaret, from ‘93, and Chicago, from 2013.

‘‘Interestingly, they were both written by the same people.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz