He’s an adventure capital-ist

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‘Shortland Street’ actor brings action stories to our all-go resort.

A one-man show telling stories of adventure comes to the adventure capital next month.

Auckland actor Ian Hughes – known to Shortland Street fans as the geeky former Dr Martin “Sticky” Stickwell – brings his self-written play Ship Songs to the Arrowtown Hall on May 2-3 as part of the Southern Lakes Festival of Colour.

The play, in which Hughes plays 14 characters during three main narratives, is a comedic love story of adventure, travel and a sense of belonging – which fits right in with Queenstown, he says.

“Everyone has amazing connections to other places. People can be in love with two places at the same time. You know, I can love Auckland and I can love Queenstown – I don’t have to choose one or the other.

“A big part of Ship Songs is encouraging people to tell their stories – otherwise they won’t exist.”

Canadian-born Hughes was inspired to write the play five years ago after discovering how his English parents met.

While emigrating by boat to Canada, his mother – a nurse – helped save a badly injured sailor’s life with no provisions.

About two weeks after arriving, she met Hughes’s father and on their first date – after telling him the rescue story – he asked her to marry him.

“As soon as I heard the story it changed my view of who they were.

“They suddenly became amazing adventurers instead of just mum and dad.”

Hughes weaves his parents’ story in with tales of two other explorers – a Chinese Navy admiral sailing around the world and an Irishman who sailed to New Zealand before colonisation and fell in love with a Maori girl.

The tales are interwoven with the help of sea shanties written by prolific Kiwi performer and songwriter Don McGlashan.

Hughes is looking forward to coming to the resort to perform: “Queenstown’s one of those places where you can turn up and find a good time pretty quick, which is great.”