Christchurch actor overcomes two bouts of cancer to stage new comedy show

William Burns in his new show The First Annual Parnell Croquet Club Facebook Live Telethon.

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William Burns in his new show The First Annual Parnell Croquet Club Facebook Live Telethon.

A Christchurch actor has overcome two bouts of cancer to finally stage his new comedy show.

William Burns originally planned to premiere his show in Christchurch in October last year, but that was canceled after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

He had surgery and rescheduled his show for April, but then the cancer returned in his abdomen and he had to undergo chemotherapy.

A week after he completed a successful nine-week round of chemotherapy, he started rehearsals for an acting role in the Court Theatre’s production of Flagons and Foxtrots, separate to his own comedy show.

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Burns also starred in the Court Theater's production of Flagons and Foxtrots just a week after finishing chemo.

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Burns also starred in the Court Theater’s production of Flagons and Foxtrots just a week after finishing chemo.

On Wednesday, his new show will finally open at the Little Andromeda, a year later than originally planned. He said the role in Flagons and Foxtrots and his new show had helped him get through his cancer treatment.

“Having these two big projects at the end, and particularly this show, which has been so many years in the making, has got me through it,” he said.

“It was really good because it gave me something to work towards and drive towards, and it really helped my recovery out of chemo.”

Burns plays croquet club president Val, who is desperately trying to save her club from closure.

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Burns plays croquet club president Val, who is desperately trying to save her club from closure.

The new show, created by Burns, is called The First Annual Parnell Croquet Club Facebook Live Telethon. Burns plays croquet club president Pat Stevens as she struggles to save her beloved club with one last fundraising drive. The show also stars Christchurch comedian and television star Brynley Stent.

Burns said the play was a combination of hit show The Play Goes Wrong with classic Kiwi comedy.

“The club holds a telethon to save their club but it all goes disastrously wrong.

“When all hope is lost, a celebrity guest turns up to save the day.”

Celebrity guests lined up for the Christchurch run include Suzy Cato, Briscoes lady Tammy Wells, and maybe Richie McCaw.

“Richie is being very flaky. I did get a maybe, but he has stopped replying to me now.”

Burns said his cancer experience had also given him a new perspective on life.

“I am grateful for the perspective that the cancer journey has given me. It really makes me enjoy my life even more and enjoy these shows.”

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