Embracing show’s theme

Feline just fine: Preparing for their annual paw-formance during this Sunday’s Christmas show are some of the members of the Remarkable Men’s Ballet troupe. Back, from left, are Richie Hadlow, Steve Kay, Mike Thurston and Rhyva van Onselen; middle row, from left, Euan Spijkerbosch, Bert Haines and Steven Gallagher; and front, Gary Clearwater

Despite its name, creatures will definitely be stirring in Queenstown this Sunday.

The annual Christmas show, supported by Queenstown’s council, will be performed at the Queenstown Events Centre at 1pm and 5pm and organisers are hoping the audience, and wider community, will embrace this year’s message literally.

Written by Queenstown performer Margaret O’Hanlon, Not a Creature Was Stirring (Not Even a Mouse) centres around Murray the Mouse (Arka Huck), who’s troubled because Santa never brings gifts for mice.

So Muffin, the family cat (Kane Viggers) and Molly the dog (Bethany Graf) encourage Murray to visit Santa at the North Pole — along the way a host of characters help him navigate, and realise the meaning of Christmas isn’t about what you receive, but what you give.

Again this year, people have the option of purchasing a ticket to be given to a family in need — spokeswoman Janey Rae says so far about 100 such tickets have been donated.

Also, this year the show’s organisers are hoping ticket-holders will drop off new, unwrapped gifts for kids aged between birth and 18 on Sunday, which will go to families in need in the Whakatipu.

This year’s show features about 60 locals — the majority of them youngsters — performing a mix of popular songs and carols, along with performances by Queenstown Gymnastics Club, Silk & Circus, Wakatipu Conservatoire of Classical Ballet, Dance Evolution Studio and the Remarkable Men’s Ballet.

Head ‘‘mincer’’ Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson’s keeping mum about the theme of this year’s performance, though confirms there’s ‘‘general disappointment that we won’t be in our beloved tutus for the show’’.

‘‘There’s been the odd tear shed, expletives, but we’ve managed to get through that, I think, and we just look forward to presenting what we present on Sunday … miaow.’’

However, he confirms people near the Athol St-Ballarat St intersection about 6pm tonight may also get a sneak peek of Sunday’s performance, weather-dependent.

Tickets for Sundays’ shows cost $5 for kids aged 5-16 and $10 for 16 and over — under-5s are free — via Humanitix.

Sallies appeal for gifts

Queenstowners are being asked to help spread some Christmas cheer to others this year.

Salvation Army Queenstown community ministries director Andrew Wilson says for the past four years they’ve supported about 50 local families, referred by a variety of community support agencies, with food and gift hampers.

Appealing for help: Salvation Army Queenstown’s Andrew Wilson

This year they’ve had a 30% increase in demand and are desperately trying to ensure every child, aged up to 18, in each of those families
has something to unwrap on Christmas Day.

‘‘Christmas is for the whole family, so we do try to make sure anyone from babies through to 18-year-olds are able to receive a gift.’’

People able to help can drop new, unwrapped gifts off to Salvation Army’s Pin Oak Ave or Gorge Rd sites — ensuring they specify
they’re gifts — to Kmart’s ‘Wishing Tree’, or to Queenstown Central’s Santa’s Grotto, which is opening for free from December 15 to 17.

Wilson says the deadline for dropping gifts off at the other locations is December 20.

Additionally, there’ll be a collection point at this Sunday’s Christmas show.

Wilson says, food-wise, they’re indebted to Anderson Lloyd, which has given $10,000 to put towards hampers, and New World, which put the boxes together.

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