These two comrades have been in both the morning and afternoon classes together and have performed in countless shows together. Now, about to make their final curtain call together, it’s only fitting that I talk about these two Standout stalworts, well, together…

Samuel Murphy and Nikita Henry have the honour of being our longest standing members on Saturdays.

Sam joined us on our very first Saturday at St Judes in October 2008 at the age of five.
Back then it was Pagan and I holding fort together on Saturdays. Pagan taught dance and it was apparent from day one as she led the class skipping up and down the hall with high table-top knees, that Sam was born for the stage. He was a natural dancer and full of charisma.

Then along followed new entrant Nikita in early 2009. Never without a smile on her face, Nikita especially loved drama games and was never shy in putting her hand up or volunteering herself to have a go. If it involved some running about or any kind of improvisation so the much the better.

It didn’t take long to realise these two liked to have fun. Noisy fun. And if ever the costume cupboard backstage was left open you can guarantee these two would be in there like a flash, emerging through the curtain resplendent in wigs, hats or whatever get-up took their fancy.

When Pagan left in 2013 we all blamed Sam and Nikita. It wasn’t the case- she’d been offered a plum position with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) which took her to Auckland. But Sam and Nikita didn’t need to know that (and still don’t!)

These two really are part of the furniture at Standouts.

Sam is without a doubt the show-man of Saturday afternoons. A talented mover, character actor and a very capable singer, we’ve always been able to count on Sam to put on a good show. He has entertained us all over the years.
Sam’s standout roles for me have been in our Shakespeare retellings for the Trinity College London Performing Arts exams in which he has wholeheartedly embraced the language of The Bard. He has played Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bianca in Taming of the Shrew, Claudius in Hamlet and this year, Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing with great aplomb.

Nikita is not just Sam’s trusty sidekick. Granted, she is full of witty banter (Nikita played Beatrice to Sam’s Benedick) and is always up for a laugh. But in the last couple of years we have seen Nikita grow as an actor and embrace more thoughtful and meaningful roles. Her recent performances have had surprising depth and sincerity. This year, Nikita shone especially bright in our New Zealand poetry term, taking real ownership of the mature pieces we were working with.
Nikita is also a capable dancer and togther with Sam, has readily contributed ideas and choreographed movement for their group.

Nikita and Sam have featured in so many Christmas shows I’ve lost count. This term they chose our project. It’s ambitious, but one that’s very dear to their hearts: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

In their final roles with us this December, Nikita will play Sally and Sam, Oogie Boogie.

Very well liked and revered by all at Standouts, we are really going to miss the multifaceted effervescent personalities that are Samuel Murphy and Nikita Henry.

Standing down but still Standing out. We look forward to seeing their names in lights soon!