Farewell to Simon

Simon Woodard farewelled by PumpHouse Board Chair, Peter Burn

Today we farewell our long-serving technical guru, Venue Operations Coordinator Simon Woodard.

Simon has been with The PumpHouse for seven years – starting as a volunteer while at high school cleaning the bathrooms and finishing with us as a key member of staff responsible for everything from health and safety to technical equipment maintenance and event coordination.

Simon recently graduated with a Communications qualification from AUT and is off to the bright lights of TV production.

Our hirers love Simon for his can-do attitude and willingness to help. While he leaves a big hole in The PumpHouse family, we wish him the very best for his new career.

(We’re on the look out for someone to fill Simon’s shoes – check out the job advert on seek.co.nz)

I’m the Cat’s Meeeeeow!

Hi Peoples,

It’s me, Tiger, The PumpHouse Cat. I’ve had a super busy year making sure there are no mice here at the theatre. My friends here are very happy with all the rodent-scaring work I’ve done and I’m looking forward to catching a few extra naps on the roof over the next few weeks of holidays.

There have been thousands of visitors to the park, human and animal, for me to keep an eye on (from a distance of course). This year, I’ve had a few problems with ants invading my house on a regular basis which is very annoying because they get into my supper dish and make my food taste horrible. My friends here at The PumpHouse help me to get rid of them but I don’t like the smell of the anti-ant spray. Still, I suppose it’s better than Fancy Feast with ant gravy.

And during winter, there was another cheeky intruder, a fat cat who was seen on the CCTV camera breaking into my house and stealing my food. I called him Tubby Tabby. He’s stopped his robberies now though, he must have seen me looking very big and tough one night. Here he is, caught on camera. How dare he!

There were quite a few ducklings and cygnets in the park during Spring. I chased some ducklings one day but they’re too quick for me and they got to the lake before I could get to them.  I don’t like admitting to not being good at stuff but actually I’m no good at catching birds on account of my wonky leg.

My friends here at the theatre have been very busy too. They’ve hardly had any time to give me pats and attention. The main theatre has been so full of people doing shows that there’s hardly been a chance for me to stand on the stage and sing – which is something I always like to do. But there were lots of children’s theatre shows that I sang along to, three stage sets with very comfy chairs and sofas that I slept on and some outdoor productions that I interrupted with some quality Shakespearean meowing.

I usually get a round of ap-paws for my efforts.

So anyway, my friends here have asked me to tell you that The PumpHouse will be closed for the holidays between December 23rd and January 9th. Tickets can still be booked online during this time.

Don’t worry about me. My friends will take turns popping in to feed me and give me some pats. And I’ll be awake all night on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa Claws – I’ve asked him for another year of good health and happiness for me and all of you.

A big Meowwy Christmas and a rodent-free New Year to everyone

I’m feline a bit sleepy now so I might go take another nap on the roof.

Love from me, Tiger, the best theatre cat in the entire world.

Meeeooowww!

Ready for a jolly good Christmas sing-along

Christmas Carols in the Amphitheatre

It’s looking like a great weekend for a Christmas Carol sing-along in the Amphitheatre on Sunday.

Like in previous years we’ve got two local choirs to help lead the audience through everyone’s favourite Christmas songs.  This year we welcome back the North Shore Chorale and for the first time, welcome our very own PumpHouse Community Choir.

The Community Choir has been practicing since the end of November and are ready for their debut public performance under the guidance of Choir Leader Charlotte Nicklin.  We’re thrilled to see so many enthusiastic singers willing to get involved and give it a go.

The choirs are on stage from 6:00 pm on Sunday, 18 December.  Kids under 12 are free, everyone else is just $5.

The sausage sizzle will be up and running from 5:30 pm and the French Rendez-vous Cafe will be here with ice cream and soft drinks (as well as wine and beer for the adults).

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The PumpHouse Community Choir

 

Last chance to see a play in a car

Tim, Sam and Geordie - the Riding in Cars team.

Tim, Sam and Geordie – the Riding in Cars team.

We’ve had great feedback about Riding in Cars with (mostly straight) Boys, the play performed in (and around) a car parked in The PumpHouse Courtyard.

Staring Geordie Holibar (Shortland Street) and Tim Earl (The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time) and written by award-winning playwright Sam Brooks, the team are finishing a North Island tour here at The PumpHouse.

There is just one more performance tonight at 7:00 pm – get along if you can, its only $15.00.

 

A “spring clean” and a lick of paint

new-hand-railThe courtyard and our driveway sign are looking quite dapper thanks to recent maintenance and repair work by our hard-working venue operations team, and our friends at Auckland Council.

In the courtyard we’ve removed some of the old and dying shrubs and planted a nice new garden.  We’ve also had a new outdoor sink installed so that we don’t need to carry buckets of water through the dressing room when something outside needs a clean.

Auckland Council has installed a new steel hand rail on the steps leading up to the amphitheatre which is much more stable than the old wooden one.  Some of the rotten timber decking has been replaced and a new wall has been built to protect the historic water pipe from people climbing on it (not to mention the risk of a nasty fall).

newly-painted-signNew team member Paul Davey got stuck in to the sign at the top of the driveway removing all the old nails, staples and screws and giving it a nice new coat of paint – and it looks fantastic!

A regular at The PumpHouse with The North Shore Gang Show and North Shore Music Theatre, Paul has joined the Venue Operations team helping out with day-to-day cleaning and some of the larger maintenance projects.

Elena’s Adventures in Aotearoa

Our intern Elena from Vienna has been making the most of her weekends, visiting some of the tourist destinations New Zealand is famous for.

Elena’s Trip to Coromandel and Hobbiton

“While I spent my weekdays getting to know life in a theatre, the weekends are reserved for getting to know New Zealand. That’s why on Friday the 11th my girls and I just packed our necessities, sat in our hired car and made our way to Coromandel Peninsula! On our way to the Motel we spent the first night in, we stopped at the Coromandel Forest Park to complete a stunning Kauri Track and had a look at the Waiau Falls. Saturday included all touristy highlights as New Chums Beach, Hot Water Beach and of course Cathedral Cove. After two days full of unforgettable impressions, we decided to take it slow on our last day and enjoyed the sun laying at Cooks Beach.”

elena-coromandel

“Last weekend held another adventure for me- I finally made it to Hobbiton! Walking through the hills and hobbit holes our guide taught us about the different techniques used to make it all come to life. After taking lots of pictures in front of tiny hobbit holes that ensured to make us look like giants we ended the magical experience with some drinks in ‘the Green Dragon’. New Zealand’s landscapes never fail to impress me and I can’t wait to find out what awaits me around the next corner.”

elena-hobbiton

 

Join The PumpHouse Community Choir

With Christmas on the horizon our thoughts have turned to the annual Christmas Carols Concert in the PumpHouse Amphtheatre.

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Choir Leader, Charlotte Nicklin

As well as the usual opportunities to sing-a-long, this year we’ve decided to form our very own PumpHouse Theatre Community Choir to take part.

To lead the choir we’ve secured the services of the lovely Charlotte Nicklin, a music teacher at Marist College.  She is very excited about leading this community singing project.

All we need now is a choir!

We’re looking for singers of all ages and abilities who can preferably hold a tune, and maybe even attempt some basic harmonies. Enthusiasm is more important than talent.

There will be a few rehearsals in November and December leading up to a performance on Sunday 18th December at 6:00 pm

If this is something that you would like to be part of we would love to hear from you. Contact Julia by emailing julia@pumphouse.co.nz or calling on 486 2386. You also find out a bit more on the Join our Choir page.

Join the choir poster

Celebrating Austria’s national day with Elena

October 26th is Austria’s national holiday – we thought we’d celebrate with our intern Elena as she is so far from home. Here is her latest blog entry about life at The PumpHouse.

austria-national-day-morning-tea

James, Mags, Elena and Julia share in some “Kaffee und Kuchen’”. Gill is off-camera taking the photo.

I thought about giving a little update on my life as an intern at The PumpHouse.

Coming originally from Austria, Wednesday was one of the most important days for our country – Austria’s National Day!

Feeling really odd not celebrating this huge day in my home country, my lovely colleagues set up afternoon tea with typical cake from Austria- ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ as we say in Austria.

The 26th of October is the most important feast day in my home country and nobody has to go to work or school. There are also various events taking place, such as ‘open house’ in Parliament and office of our President and free entry in almost every museum. Many people also use the day off to get out of the city and travel to one of our beautiful lakes to do picnics or hikes.

While my fellow Austrians are now beginning to wrap up in thick autumn wear, I’m enjoying the weather becoming warmer and warmer while exploring the beautiful places New Zealand has to offer on the weekends and getting to have a close look on the theatre life during the weekdays.

Since my last blog entry I’ve been dealing with a few more tasks including writing a how-to guide streamlining my box office procedures, which I really enjoy doing! Passing on the knowledge I got during my first month of work is not just a good way to improve my written English, but also a good chance to keep record for myself of what I’ve already learned.

I’m also becoming more confident in answering phone calls and even got used in operating the ticketing software.

We’re now open on Saturday! (morning)

From now until Christmas we’re trialing having the box office open on Saturday mornings from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm.

Experienced box office staff member Mags Delaney will be holding down the fort every Saturday morning.  She can help with bookings, ticket transfers or any other queries you have about upcoming shows either in person or on the phone.

Traditionally the box office has been open on week days when the office staff are here – and one hour before each show – but we’ve never been sure how many calls and visits we’re missing on Saturday mornings.

If we can see there is a demand we hope to make Saturday morning hours a permanent addition to our opening hours in the new year.

Labour Weekend Hours

We’re all taking a hard-earned break on Monday, so the office will be closed.

The box office will be open at 6:00 pm Monday for last minute tickets to Rhythm of Chinese Guzheng, and of course you can grab door sales for the last few shows of The Pink Hammer on Saturday and Sunday.

Have a great long weekend

James

 

Welcome to Elena

We’re really happy to welcome Elena to our team for the next few months.  Elena is interning with us as part of a programme run by New Zealand Internships.

As well as helping us with box office and ticketing during the day, Elena will be working on projects to document and streamline our box office procedures and working on some of our community activities, include the Christmas Carols in the Amphitheatre (its on Sunday, 18th December – save the date!).

We asked Elena to put together a short blog about her experiences so far:

Hi there, my name is Elena and I’m going to be an international intern at the PumpHouse Theatre for the next three months.

Having graduated this summer, it was clear to me that I wanted to go abroad and learn about something that I am genuinely interested in  theatre. So that’s basically the story of how I flew to the other side of the world (originally I am from Austria) and ended up being here.

Among my daily tasks are taking care of the Box Office, which also means operating the ticketing software, and answering incoming phone calls.

Currently I am still in the settling-in period, getting used to everything and being really thankful for all my helping hands, being really patient with me and explaining everything even for the 398th time when needed.

Getting creative at The PumpHouse Theatre

One of our big goals for the future at The PumpHouse Theatre is to be somewhere you can come and take part.  A place to learn about the performing arts and get involved as well as a place to come and watch.

So we’re thrilled to have two experienced artists and teachers joining us over the next couple of months to run the first in a series of workshops and classes.

Paul Willis

Paul Willis

Take your acting from good to great

Paul Willis is not just an experienced stage and screen actor, he is also a highly regarded educator with years of experience in coaching and teaching, including many years as HOD Drama at Birkenhead College.

A seasoned Shakespearean actor, most recently Paul has appeared at The Pop-Up Globe, in Twelfth Night (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) and Romeo & Juliet (Peter).

Paul is the tutor for Acting Coaching for Adultsan eight week course for actors who would like to fine-tune their skills.

The course will run on Saturday mornings (10.00 am – 12.00 noon) from 15 October until 26 November, with an evening performance on Saturday, 3 December to showcase your new skills.  The course is suitable for all experience levels.

Gary Henderson

Gary Henderson

Putting pen to paper

Gary Henderson returns to The PumpHouse on Monday, 12 September with a second Learn Writing for Theatre course.

This is an eight-week course that will introduce the essential skills of writing for theatre and is designed for the beginner who has always wanted to have a go at writing a play, but isn’t sure where to start.  The course is held on Monday nights from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

At the end of the course you’ll have an original script for a ten-minute play which will be performed before an audience of friends anf family on The PumpHouse Theatre stage in November 2016.

We’ve only got a few spaces left, so if this sounds like you – get in quick.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn about and would be interested in a class or workshop?  Get in touch and let us know.

Featured image courtesy of The Pop Up Globle

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