Destiny to live around the stage

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Becoming involved in theatre was not so much a choice for Victoria Mills as a destiny.

The Gore woman is directing Repertory Invercargill’s production of Lovepuke

Mills is the daughter of Gore thespian Glennis Gray. She recalls vivid memories of often attending repertory rehearsals from when she was growing up.

It was at the age of about 11 that Mills stepped on to the stage in Alice in Wonderland

“I was a card with an attitude,” Mills said.

During her involvement in theatre, she had played a wide variety of parts, from a fairy with attitude, to an intelligent feisty woman who refused to get married.

“I’ve been a professional poet talking about bodily excretions,” she said.

She had also played an alcoholic farmer’s wife living in the middle of nowhere.

The chance to walk in someone else’s shoes, then take them off again, was a major attraction to the world of theatre for Mills.

Mills also starred in school plays as well as repertory productions.

For her mother, it was easier to have her daughter involved in school productions which she usually directed as it saved having to find a child minder, she said.

Mills left Gore to attend the University of Otago, where she completed a bachelor of arts degree majoring in classical studies.

Then she lived in Queenstown for 15 years before she and her husband, Gary, moved to Gore.

She described her work history in Queenstown as being a jack of all trades. She needed to be adaptable when working in the tourist town.

Theatre companies in Queenstown became magnets to Mills.

The involvement with the Queenstown groups allowed her to learn a lot of valuable skills, she said.

“I got to work with some really, really good people.”

The skills learned from professionals in the theatre world who were brought to Queenstown were invaluable, she said.

Since being back in Gore, Mills has been involved in the Gore Repertory Society and Shakespeare in the Park in Invercargill.

The opportunities for those in theatre included being able to work with a lot of talented people, she said.

Directing gave Mills another theatrical avenue in which to indulge herself.