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.

charlotte-choir-leadersml

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

National Poetry Day – a poem for you

Seeing as it’s National Poetry Day and we’re in the business of art and words, The PumpHouse’s own Julia Pointon put together a charming little poem about the upcoming events here at the theatre for your reading pleasure – enjoy.

On Friday it’s National Poetry Day,
So you’d better write a poem, they say.
Oh, okay…
The PumpHouse, The PumpHouse oh where to begin?
There’s so much to say, so much to fit in.
Right now you can enjoy the North Shore Gang Show,
With shipwrecks and pirates and some ‘Yo ho ho’!
A quick interlude brings us Chariots of Fire,
An event with The Lake House, some funds to acquire.
Then there’s Rawiri Paratene with Kōrero pūrākau,
Māori legends for families and school children – Wow!
Cohen Meets Beethoven, then Tim Bray hits the stage,
With A Lion in the Meadow for kids of each age.
In the Coalbunker Studio The Dumb Waiter plays,
And Tadpole Productions’ Pink Hammer will amaze.
We have Fire on the River – the great fire of London,
Then Hair, and they’re bare, yes their clothing is undone!
i-Start share A story of a Poet,
It’ll soon be Christmas but you’d hardly know it.
But suddenly there’s The Santa Claus Show,
And Carols in the Amphitheatre, a warm Christmas glow.
Four packed months ‘til the end of the year,
So much to see and so much to hear.
That’s it, I’m done, there’s no more to say,
Except enjoy NZ National Poetry Day!

By Julia Pointon, with a little assistance from a good Kiwi Sauv Blanc

Behind the scenes of arts funding at The PumpHouse AGM.

Thanks to everyone who made it along to the North Shore Theatre and Arts Trust annual general meeting last night.

It was great to catch up with Friends of The PumpHouse members, hirers, funders and members of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board too.

We’re thrilled so many people take an interest in what we’re doing to keep The PumpHouse Theatre thriving.

agm1Guest speaker Andrew Caisley, Board member of Creative New Zealand, gave the audience an overview of CNZ’s history, activities and some of the challenges that come with Government funding for the arts.

While we knew lottery sales contributed to arts funding, we didn’t realise this extended to prize money!  The more first division lotto winners, the less arts funding there is for the following year.

Funding arts and community services from gambling proceeds is a moral dilemma for many grass roots community organisations. We’ll be interested to see the recommendations of the review of gambling regulations currently being undertaken by the Department of Internal Affairs.

In the theatre the North Shore’s Scout and Guides are hard at work building an impressive-looking set for A Raft of Good Tales, opening next Thursday.

If you’ve never seen a Gang Show before its quite an experience.  For some of the young people involved its the spark of a life-long love of performing, for others, it will be their only time on stage.

Grab some kids and come along for a family-friendly variety show of comedy and music with a nautical theme.

Music, murder and your last chance to catch Agatha Christie

Shoreside Theatre’s almost-sold-out season of The Hollow closes on Saturday night.

At time of writing there were only 50 seats left across the last three performances.  Luckily most of those are for the matinee at 2:00 pm on Saturday when there will be a free post-show Q&A with Carol Dumbleton, the show’s director.  Agatha Christie was a regular visitor to Carol’s parent’s guest house in Devon so she’s sure to have some interesting stories to share.

If you aren’t coming to the show first, the Q&A will start around 4:45 pm and is open to all.

The popular North Shore Concert Band are in the house on Sunday with their annual PumpHouse Concert – this time its Hollywood vs Broadway with music from An American in Paris, The Sound of Music, Chess, James Bond and more.

Their concerts usually sell out, but we’ve still got a few tickets left if you haven’t got yours yet.

From Wednesday night, Rangitoto College senior drama students tackle one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays – Titus Andronicus.  There are only three performances, so don’t miss out on the chance to see this rarely-performed play on the PumpHouse stage.

Behind the scenes we’ve taken delivery of 50 padded chairs and given them a professional clean and polish – these will provide much needed comfort in the in the Coal Bunker Studio, just in time for The Dumb Waiter in September.

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