M.P.’s father — from pulpit to role in TV drama

Kenneth Prebble, a former vicar, has long been of the opinion that roles of older people should be filled by older people, and not by young actors and the makeup artist. So he was particularly pleased to land the part of old Nobby in tonight’s episode of “Both Sides of the Fence.” He says he felt happy playing the old timer, once employed by Cameo as an odd-job man and now seeing out his twilight years in his humble bach.

As Nobby, Prebble makes his debut appearance on television. He hopes it will not be his last, but at the age of 69 he admits that the roles he can play are limited. He began acting only three years ago.

He acknowledges that he would have liked to have been active in the theatre much sooner. As vicar of St Paul’s in Auckland for many years, his involvement in “parish productions” and his enthusiastic following of the work of Theatre Corporate were as far as Kenneth Prebble managed to venture into the world of the footlights.

When he retired from the church in 1979 he had the free time and the opportunity. With the strong encouragement of the director of Theatre Corporate and the incentive of two successful theatre workshops behind him, Prebble made a natural and easy transition from the pulpit to the stage. Within months he claimed roles in three Theatre Corporate productions — Roger Hall’s “The Rose,” as Falstaff in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” and in a play based on Bruce Mason’s “The End of the Golden Weather.” Prebble views his new career as more than merely “a retirement interest.” Theatre and acting have always been a passion with him and now that he has the

chance he intends to indulge it to the fullest possible extent. He says that no-one of his acquaintance has been particularly surprised by his latter day foray into acting, though several of his parishioners have “turned up to watch” on various occasions. Acting, he says, does not run in his family. He has five sons, including the member of Parliament, Mr Richard Prebble, and a daughter. While none of them has been inclined to the stage, they are all delighted by their father’s venture.

Both Sides of the Fence (1982-83)