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The Court Theatre To Present New Comedy KINGS OF THE GYM, 6/29

From the writer of THE TUTOR and THE MOTOR CAMP comes the new smash-hit comedy KINGS OF THE GYM.

"Dave Armstrong has fashioned a comedy from the colliding personalities of four teachers who are archetypal Kiwi characters, easily recognised and loved because of that" says Artistic Director, Ross Gumbley. "Never one to shy away from the topic of the day, Armstrong has swung his full armoury on to the education system and set his sights on those employed by the Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry itself. It is a relief to us in Christchurch to have schools-related drama limited to the stage for a change."

The story centres on Hautapu High School's P.E. teacher Laurie Connor, whose un-PC methods are beloved by students, but barely tolerated by the Headmistress. When a young, enthusiastic student teacher arrives at the school, it's not just the pupils who will be tested.

Drawing from his own experiences, Armstrong says the initial idea of for the play occurred to him during the mid-1970s in the gymnasium of his local secondary school. "Most co-ed school gymnasiums back then were little man-caves - oases of testosterone where the P.E. teachers, who were usually male, ruled the roost. Yes, these P.E. teachers could be boorish and insensitive - like Laurie in the play - but these kings of the gym really liked kids. And it's very hard to dislike someone who likes you."

It is not the first time Armstrong has been inspired by his school boy days. One teacher, in particular, prompted him and classmate Danny Mulheron to co-create the TV comedy series, SEVEN PERIODS WITH MR. GORMSBY. "The Major, as we called him, was a former military man and a relic from the British Empire. He was highly authoritarian and had no time for 'liberal mumbo-jumbo'. He once tried to cane our classmate, Claire, who had rather a deep voice, refusing to believe she was a girl. 'You're not a girl, lad'."

KINGS OF THE GYM, directed by Conrad Newport and featuring Tom Trevella and Eilish Moran, opens on 29 June and runs to 10 August. Bookings at www.courttheatre.org.nz or 03 963 0870.



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