Sam RuckWhen Sam Ruck flew the flag for a new organisation that would support young professionals working in the Ashburton District, he was overwhelmed by the response.

The idea was to create a group that would provide networking opportunities and a chance for younger professionals to mix with others in the district.

Ruck thought he’d be lucky to see 40 people at the first meeting; 70 turned up.

The definition of a young professional is broad, but as a guide it’s anyone in the first 15 years of practice in their job, he said.

“There’s nothing hard and fast about what your job is;  if you feel like the group might be for you, then come along,”

A professional could also include someone who was in a trade, but who was working their way up the management ladder, Ruck said.

“It’s about wanting to better yourself in your career and this will provide people with an opportunity for both social gatherings and for some professional development.”

The group is also a way for people who were new to town to meet some of their peers and the first meeting was attended by four people who had just taken up jobs in the district.

Anyone wanting to know more about the group can contact Sam Ruck at Argyle Welsh Finnigan or on Facebook – Mid Canterbury Young Professionals.

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 14 December 2016


georgie sivierActor and stand-up comedian Georgie Sivier is breaking into the world of television. Photo Susan SandysAshburton actor Georgie Sivier is breaking into the world of television, and having a lot of fun doing it.

The Big Little Theatre Company tutor is among six core cast members in a satirical comedy sitcom called Creeps.

A pilot episode has been filmed by 03 Productions, and is being shopped to major Kiwi television networks.

“Hopefully we will be bought by a network then we can make our first season,” Sivier said.

She plays Georgia Silver, a character similar to herself in some ways, but innocent to the point of being brutally honest, and thus communicating with her friends in some cutting ways.

Sivier describes the nature of the sitcom as a cross between Friends and The Office, and is confident it will be picked up and popular with audiences.

At 22, Sivier has a vast body of acting experience behind her.

She is a Big Little graduate and as well as tutoring at the company, has written and presented her own plays, often to sell-out crowds, in Ashburton and at the Nelson Fringe Festival, and has directed for the Methven Theatre Company.

She recently moved to Christchurch, where along with doing professional television work, she is establishing Playspace Theatre Company as well as getting into stand-up comedy.

Stand up fits perfectly well with her experience as a writer and actor, she said.

“As lots of people know, acting doesn’t generate a whole lot of income.

“The most cost-effective way to put on shows is a quick turnaround, not having long rehearsal times.

“So I’m used to doing shows which are half devised and half improvised,” she said.

“Which is terrifying,” she added, however, once you had been on stage a few times you got used to it.

“Other times you bomb and you know that’s just the nature of it.

“For every call-back I get there’s another four rejection letters waiting.

“You have to get used to failing if you are in this kind of industry.”

She performed with stand-up comedy companies after being asked to join them following performing at open mic nights.

And for her latest sitcom gig, she had successfully auditioned for this after spotting a street poster seeking actors for the show in Christchurch.

Live theatre remains a passion, and Sivier is continuing to stage shows while establishing her new theatre company.

Her popular one-woman show This Is The Story will stage at the Pegasus Arms in Christchurch tonight at 7pm.

By Susan Sandys © The Ashburton Guardian - 12 December 2016


liam kennedy clarkCongratulations to former AshColl student Liam Kennedy Clark. Liam has made the finals for Toyota Star Maker, an Australian music competition. He is one of 10, with the winner getting a Toyota, 12 months of fuel and guaranteed performances. We wish you all the best!!