The History of ‘The Green Shed’

Written by Mags-Delaney Moffatt

We all know it as The French Rendezvous Café/Restaurant where you can get coffee and crêpes, and dinner before shows (if you book!), but the building it sits in, whilst not as old as The PumpHouse Theatre building has had a long and varied career of its own.

This no-nonsense rectangle made of corrugated iron with a lofty roof and round windows at each end was built to house the electric engine which replaced the coal fired boilers somewhere around 1927.

For some reason lost in the mists of time it was painted dark green – and was christened The Green Shed – a name it was known by before it became a café (and still is by some of our older patrons).

It was planned to use the building as a multifunctional open space for activities associated with the art and a theatre workshop. Which, in the early days when the main building also housed an art gallery, it did.

Lunch time concerts and plays (accompanied by soup and a roll provided by volunteers) were very popular.

The ‘shed’ was utilised as a dressing room for the men for the first production on stage ‘Electra’ in 1977. Much of the engineering machinery was still in place so the actors were under strict instructions from the wardrobe mistress to be extra careful where they hung their costumes so they wouldn’t get oil or grease on them!

As when The PumpHouse building was bought by the council (but still leased and run by the North Shore Theatre and Arts Trust) it was decided to lease the building out as a café – because as it ever has been we need money to keep the arts alive at The PumpHouse!

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