Acting in ancestor’s footsteps

On stage ... Jo Helby has put her acting back shoes on and is ready to get on the stage. PHOTO: KIM MCKECHIE PHOTOGRAPHY

‘‘I hope some of her stardust sprinkles on me,’’ Jo Helby says.

The West Otago Theatre Society performer’s greatgrandmother Marie Studholme was an English actress and singer of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

She was known for her supporting and starring roles in Edwardian musical comedy.

Mrs Helby said her love for acting came from her greatgrandmother.

‘‘I would love to be as good as my great-grandmother but I never could be.’’

She admired how her talent had allowed her to succeed in the spotlight.

‘‘She obviously loved what she did because she kept doing it rather than experiencing a bit of fame and retiring.

‘‘She was an actress who put her heart and soul into everything.’’

She was one of George Edwardes’ Gaiety Girls, who became a symbol of ideal womanhood in the late 1890s.

Mrs Helby will tap into her great-grandmother’s acting heritage for her latest performance.

She will play as Joan in the society’s show Act Your Age.

It will be her first performance with the group.

She admitted she was nervous but had been looking forward to the show.

‘‘I’ve never been in a comedy before.’’

It would be a good time for all, she said.

She was no stranger to the stage as she had performed in shows since she was 6.

Her first role was a school play in England where she played a moonbeam.