IT was the age old saying "the show must go on" that propelled Kotara resident Colleen Potts into 12 years of volunteer work at Hunter Opera.
With the shock resignation of the production manager in 1988, Mrs Potts took control of the show.
She went on to produce 22 shows in 10 years, including Carmen (1993), Les Miserables (1994) and Madame Butterfly (1995).
Time spent volunteering in a managerial position at Hunter Opera followed on from 25 years as a soprano opera singer - something she still does today.
Mrs Potts, while modest about her achievements, has spent decades championing for the development of performing arts and entertainment in the Hunter.
Recently recognised by Newcastle City Council with a Citizen of the Year award on Australia Day, Mrs Potts also won an Order of Australia Medal in 2012.
"I saw a need for more productions in the Hunter and so that is what I did," she said.
"I start new things all the time, it is important to be engaged with the community and give back when I can, it keeps me young."
Mrs Potts led fund-raising efforts for numerous charity committees while working fulltime as a science teacher at the Hunter School of Performing Arts.
While teaching she developed the Entertainment Industry Training (stage management) HSC course - which has been introduced to schools across the state.
She now teaches belly and tap dancing to 100 women in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie three times a week.
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