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Sports, arts and activities

Master of the House – Hamish McGregor

Performing the role of Monsieur Thénardier in the Auckland season of Les Misérables was a dream come true for ACG Parnell College Guest Director, Hamish McGregor.

Combining careers in musical theatre and education is a self-confessed balancing act for renowned thespian, Hamish McGregor. Yet, the multi-talented actor, singer and director not only produces seemingly effortless vocal performances, but confidently manages an array of teaching commitments as well.

“It is all a balance, but that is what teaching is about,” explains Hamish. “Having balance in your personal and school life is so important for stopping the burnout of educators, but it is certainly challenging. I am currently only relief teaching, so it is a little easier!”

A regular guest director in the ACG Parnell College Arts programme, Hamish is also an experienced primary teacher with over 13 years in the profession. He finds working with teenage students to be extremely rewarding, due in part to their advancing maturity.

“I enjoy the chance to get to work with older students I don’t normally work with, and because of the age differences, I can use techniques and have conversations about character and stage craft that I can’t with a primary aged student.”

Having performed in some of the greatest musicals of all time, such as Fiddler on the Roof, Chicago, Oliver, Mamma Mia and My Fair Lady, Hamish is a true master of the genre. Over the past several years he has moved into directing musicals, including one that he co-wrote called Hungover, which had an extremely successful season in Auckland.

The popular director has been guiding ACG Parnell’s annual productions for the past four years, and the College is delighted to have him on board.

“My first show for ACG Parnell was in 2016 where I co-directed The Wizard of Oz with Jason Te Mete. Since then we have done Oliver in 2017, Annie in 2018 and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat! in 2019.”

2019 also saw Hamish realise a long-held dream to perform as the despicable innkeeper, Monsieur Thénardier, in the hugely successful Auckland season of Les Misérables, for which he received rave reviews – especially for his rendition of Master of the House. The villainous role had featured on his bucket list for the past 20 years, and Hamish was thrilled to finally delve into the fiendishly marvellous part for himself.

“I just enjoy being able to explore a character and what makes them tick, if that be bad guy or nice guy,” he explains. “I enjoy getting under the skin of a character.”

As a passionate advocate in the importance of Arts education for teenagers, Hamish regularly holds acting workshops for young adults around New Zealand.

“I have seen first-hand the confidence that comes with the Performing Arts. You get the chance to explore other parts of yourself that you would not normally have the chance to do. You get to break down your own barriers to help you grow. Arts are VITAL to any thriving community,” he says.

The current year looks set to be another busy one for Hamish. In addition to his teaching plans, he works regularly with a company called Operatunity, which provides daytime variety concerts for retirees, along with music-group-travel with like-minded seniors to fabulous destinations.

“I have a couple of projects that I am working on myself which I hope to get up and going in 2020 too!” he reports.