The main auditorium has been known as the Genevieve Becroft Auditorium since Nov 6 2017.
Genevieve Becroft was one of the key people involved in the rescue, renovation and restoration of the pumping station. She has been a prominent Takapuna arts patron and advocate for North Shore artists.
A commemorative plaque is on display in the PumpHouse Foyer, and you’ll see the “Becroft Auditorium” name appear on tickets and our website.
After moving to Auckland from Hamilton as a teenager, Genevieve trained as a kindergarten teacher and met her husband David Becroft, a paediatric pathologist. They travelled to US where David undertook cancer research in Boston and Genevieve assisted at the YMCA with migrant families.
It was in the US city of Cincinnati that Genevieve saw an old building being restored and converted into a theatre – this gave her the impetus to be part of the movement to save The PumpHouse.
Upon their return to New Zealand, the couple settled in Takapuna where Genevieve became a strong advocate for many social causes. She was a strong advocate for the Children’s Hospital in Auckland (now known as Starship) and was an active member of North Shore Hospice, Riding for the Disabled, Forest and Bird and involved in forming the local Marae.
It was in 1962 that she got involved with saving The PumpHouse. The derelict building was set to be demolished, but a group of concerned locals, including current Local Board member Jan O’Connor, former North Shore Mayor Wyn Hoadley, writer Peg Escott, and local residents Maureen and Dick Williams, were determined to advocate for the building to be saved, and converted into an arts centre.
In 1969 council took a vote, narrowly agreeing to save the iconic building.
With limited finances the team held many fairs, picnics and fundraisers. They not only rolled up their sleeves and got busy with hammers and paint brushes, their voices kept the arts top of mind at Council, in the media and in the Takapuna community generally.
In 1977 performances began in the theatre now named in Genevieve’s honour.
As part of their active community involvement, in 1996 David and Genevieve formed a charitable foundation to assist with community projects. In 2001 Genevieve received a Queen’s Service Medal for her services to the community. She continues to support many local charities with her time and through the David and Genevieve Becroft Foundation. Each year 100’s of children at low decile schools are able to attend performances by Tim Bray Productions thanks to the Becroft Foundation’s contribution to the Gift-a-Seat programme.
In 2001 Genevieve received a Queen’s Service Medal for her services to the community. She continues to support many local charities with her time and through the Becroft Foundation. Each year 100’s of children at low decile schools are able to attend performances by Tim Bray Productions thanks to the Becroft Foundation’s contribution to the Gift-a-Seat programme.
We are very fortunate to have benefited from Genevieve’s vision, tenacity, influence and dedication to making The PumpHouse Theatre a reality for our own and future generations to enjoy.