Sylvia Sheldon: Celebrating 102 Years and a Quarter Century of Show-Stopping Devotion to Riverlea Theatre!

As Riverlea Theatre commemorates its 40th year, we are celebrating the eve of Riverlea’s oldest family member.  Sylvia Sheldon (pictured with her son Dunstan) is turning the grand age of 102 tomorrow, Sunday the 21st of January.  Sylvia has attended almost every show held at Riverlea for 25 years.  Nowadays, with her movement aided by her walker, you will find the pair in Row B, seats 15 and 16, on nearly every Opening Night or the occasional Closing Show.

A love of love theatre developed for Sylvia in her homeland Chicago, and after the big relocation from the US to Whitianga, Sylvia and her late husband then settled in Hamilton in 1999, and Riverlea Theatre became their venue of choice for musicals and plays.  Dunstan became Sylvia’s theatre companion, and together they have enjoyed all that Riverlea has staged.

“Once we became members of Hamilton Musical Theatre (previously Musikmakers), we had a vested interest as members in supporting the theatre, so we try to get to every AGM to keep up with news and developments,” said Dunstan.

One of Sylvia’s favourite things about Riverlea Theatre is the sense of community and family they feel when she’s there.  “The fact that we can park in the accessible park right outside the front door, head up the ramp, and straight into the lounge makes it easy. We like to come early, as Sylvia likes to sit in the lounge and ‘people watch’ until we’re ready to go in.”

When asked to pick a favourite show of all time, both were unanimous, “You cannot compare shows of such different genres.  It’s too hard to compare a show like Blood Brothers to Fantastic Mr Fox, or the recent Footloose, but we enjoy every single show”.

Into The Woods Jr closes tonight after a busy ten-show season, and Sylvia will be seated in her favourite seat as a guest of Riverlea Theatre tonight. 

 Have a fabulous birthday Sylvia, and a year of health and happiness.

20/01/2024

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