A Day In The Life Of The PumpHouse Staff – Julia

Have you met Julia?

Julia is our truest bibliophile; our human spell-checker and source of truth and reason. She has a particular affinity for the written word, having immersed herself in readings of English, History and Drama and has an eagle eye for grammar mistakes.

Aside from her impressive literary skills, when Julia is not in the office, you can find her dancing in the dark (quite literally), having a singalong with the guitar and being an all-round resident drama geek. She has a passion for all things creative and puts culture at the heart of her community role here at The PumpHouse.

And I’m sure you were a really great tree in your performance of Snow White, Julia.

Tell us five random facts about yourself

Strictly speaking, I’m a Northumbrian but it’s easier just to tell people I’m from Newcastle upon Tyne. Either way, I’m a Geordie.

I’ve visited 28 different countries and have lived in four of them: UK, NZ, Germany & Japan.

I have been sent to the head teacher for being ‘naughty’ at every school I have ever been to, both as a pupil and a teacher!

I got married in a theatre.

Many years ago I got caught up in a police investigation into an armed robbery. It’s a long story. I didn’t do it – that’s all you need to know.

How did you come to work at The Pumphouse Theatre?

After responding to a PumpHouse Facebook post I started working as a casual box office staff member. Later I took on a part-time administration role and then picked up the Community Engagement Co-ordinator role sometime after that.

What did you study and has it helped you in the role?

I have a BA(Hons) in English Literature & History and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) – English & Drama. I also have a Postgrad Diploma in TESOL. These qualifications led me to a career in education and over the years I’ve worked with students aged from 3 to 60+. My experience, working with such a wide range of people, is good background for Community Engagement and it’s particularly useful when working with the local schools.

When did you start getting involved in the performing arts?

At primary school. I was a tree in a performance of Snow White. My mum made my costume out of a net curtain and green crepe paper and I was embarrassed because the other tree, Donna Potts, had a beautiful tree dress made from brown & green velvet.

After that I was involved in numerous school shows and became a member of Newcastle Youth Theatre.

What do you like about working here?

“Cosy character building nestled in a park setting with stunning lake views.”
What’s not to like?!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in your job recently

Organising, and being part of, the mihi whakatau to welcome Rob Mokaraka & Clint Edmonds to The PumpHouse for their production of ‘Shot Bro’.

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

Around 7:00am. I like to go for a walk before work, either at home in ‘Birkendale Haven’, in Takapuna along the beach, or if I’m feeling particularly energetic I walk from home to work.

What do you do behind the scenes that people don’t know?

As well as being the Community Engagement Co-ordinator I’m also the theatre’s office administrator so I do things like taking meeting minutes, ordering office supplies and paying bills. Fortunately our wonderful treasurer Brenda does all the complicated accounting stuff!

What do you get up to after hours?

Now that both my daughters have disappeared off to university I’ve got a bit more me time which I like to spend walking, singing & dancing. I sing with our fabulous PumpHouse Community Choir and I’m also their guitar accompanist from time to time. I get my dancing fix once a week at ‘Dancing in the Dark Birkdale’. It is what it says on the packet: You dance, in the dark, in Birkdale.

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

What lunch breaks?!

What’s your all-time favourite show?

I don’t have one, sorry. I do have a favourite theatre genre though and that is the much-maligned, good old fashioned, British pantomime. Whether it’s a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs in a community hall or a highly-polished, big budget professional job, I just love it! Love the tradition & history; love the costumes, the music, the comedy; love how they operate on different levels for adults & kids.
Can we have one at The PumpHouse please?!

Adrian’s Journey to Handpan

It’s New Zealand Music Month and this year’s focus is “Discovering New Music”. Here at The PumpHouse we are offering a unique and rare opportunity to see the Handpan played live professionally.

World renowned, Australian based drummer and percussionist Adrian J. Portia is bringing his stunning Handpan music to New Zealand for the first time.

What is a Handpan?
Based on the “Hang Drum” the Handpan is a steel hand drum that has a distinct UFO shape. The angelic and powerful sounds this instrument makes are truly out of this world and Adrian know full well how to deliver these sounds to his audience.

Adrian’s Journey

The first time Adrian J Portia laid eyes on a hang/handpan was in an online video in 2008. He fell in love with it immediately. The instrument was less than a decade old then. It was a bit like an inverted steel pan, except instead of mallets it was played with a person’s bare hands.

Unfortunately for Adrian, a professional drummer and percussionist who grew up outside Melbourne, Australia, getting one would take more than his check book. The handpan –– or as it was called at the time, the hang –– was made from steel and hand-tuned with a hammer. Creating one was an intricate, time-consuming process, and the chances of owning one himself were slim. The only way was to write a handwritten letter to the Swiss couple, who were then the only makers of the instrument. If they accepted you would fly over to Switzerland, pay for it and come home.

Finally in 2013 Adrian managed to purchase a handpan from a new maker based in California.

Over the last few years, he has become internationally renowned for his versatility, speed, control and command over the instrument. With his unique percussive style, performing grooves and melodies at the same time, he has helped pave a new approach and style for the future players of the instrument. Each of his videos shows a close-up on the instrument, with his hands skipping across the surface like pebbles on water.

Adrian released his debut album Life In Colour in August 2015, which was widely received for its diversity, bringing the instrument into a mix of genres, displaying the possibilities of the instrument in different musical settings.

“We’re making the history of this instrument right now,” says Adrian. “It’s quite a magical instrument.”


Adrian will be performing at The PumpHouse Theatre on Mon 21st May at 7:30pm. Book Tickets.

The Book Club

Roger Hall’s off beat romantic comedy at The PumpHouse Theatre (May 9th-20th)

Tadpole Productions are producing Roger Hall’s off beat romantic comedy The Book Club, which opens at The Pumphouse Theatre in Takapuna on 9th May for a strictly limited season.  Starring one woman dynamo Jodie Dorday and directed by Janice Finn, this popular play was originally written in 1999 and successfully toured New Zealand and Australia. Roger has updated the script for 2018 audiences, especially for this production, which has also meant changing most of the books (and the reactions!) mentioned in the play!

The Book Club is narrated by self-confessed book-a-holic Deborah, who looks for a diversion when the last of her children leaves home and her husband is busy with work and his latest hobby, cycling.   Deb’s friend Trish invites her to join her book club, so, armed with a bottle of wine Deb takes the plunge.  The women are a diverse bunch – Milly (English to the core), Meredith (Academic snob), Caroline (heavily pregnant high profile journalist) and divorcee Susie.

The monthly meeting becomes a regular occurrence, but when Deb suggests inviting a local author to come and give a talk about their latest book the outcome is totally unexpected, complicating Deb’s life in ways she never dreamt of and creating the essence of the play….

Roger is the master of writing comedy with pathos and delivering likeable but flawed characters we all recognise.  Jodie Dorday brings them all to life in a tour de force performance not to be missed. Jodie only recently returned to her hometown with the opportunity to play Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliott 2016 – an extraordinary experience – and is now thrilled to be pursuing a dream of performing in this play at one of her favourite feel good performance spaces, the PumpHouse.

Jodie debuted her theatre career with Auckland Theatre Company’s Dancing At Lughnasa in 1995 and the stage is still very much her happy place.  She has also been lucky enough to have been involved with Take a Chance on Me, All My Sons, Sylvia, Social Climbers and Midsummer Nights Dream. She played in Sydney Theatre Company’s King Lear and picked up the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Lynn in Anthony McCarten’s Film Via Satellite.

She has continued to work on screen with the lead role in Burying Brian and has recently very much enjoyed playing Trish (Cheryl Wests Mum) in Westside, airing in May.  In between there was a business to run in Melbourne, husband Troy and a beautiful little boy…..

Jodie trained in dance and worked alongside her Mum Debbie at Auckland’s famous ‘Burgundys’ for a good many years and she is very much enjoying living and working back in NZ with family and friends. “I feel very blessed to be home in such a safe part of the world and also to be able to continue my acting career here.  Every moment on stage is special for me – not without tears and sweat at times but I’m always extremely grateful”. In her spare time Jodie works with teens, sharing her acting insights and teaching them how to shine a little. She loves their energy and the thought of being able to guide them a little through their tumultuous teenage years.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see Jodie Dorday in The Book Club!!!! Buy Tickets.

Discover New Music with NZ Music Month

NZ Music Month is an annual event managed by the New Zealand Music Commission, its purpose is to celebrate and grow awareness of home-grown music. We’re proud to be an official venue, hosting a wide variety of concerts around the month of May.

This year the focus is to “Discover New Music”. The theme for this year is finding something new – a new band, genre, new tracks or a new album by a New Zealand artist. As music is valued in many genres and ways, we are keen to help New Zealanders discover music in places they may not generally think of. One of those places is indeed The PumpHouse – we’re hosting a wide variety of concerts and music from local artists throughout the season.

If you’re looking for something ‘different’ next month, look no further. These are all going to be stellar performances and there’s something new for everyone to enjoy.

Kicking off our music month off is our SOLD OUT show for The Music of Leonard Cohen! If you’re having major FOMO, then you’re in luck. We’re giving away two front row seats to this sold out performance. Details below.

Next, we’ve got treasured New Zealander Denise Norton, presenting A Musical Jazz Cabaret. Denise is a former classical dancer/singer and has been involved in the Music Industry for over 20 years. Her show features Jazz standards, highlights from well-known Musicals and Films, and from the composers Stephen Sondheim and A.L Webber. If, like me, you wish your life was a musical – then this one’s for you!

Saturday we’ve got Dominic Blaazer and The Maximum Philharmonic Orchestra. A stalwart of NZ music, Blaazer has played alongside Don McGlashan, SJD and The Chills, also accompanying the Topp Twins, John Rowles, Goldenhorse, David Kilgour and The Clean, among many others. This talented North Shore musician (can you believe it) is showcasing his new album “The Lights of Te Atatu” with his 9-piece orchestral band. The opening act is special guest Jan Hellriegel, one of New Zealand’s most respected songwriters.

Lastly, if you really want something “out there” then come to Adrian Portia’s Handpan Music. It’s guaranteed a great performance. He’s a world renowned, Australian based drummer and percussionist. Adrian J. Portia is bringing his stunning Handan music to New Zealand for the first time! He has been recognised internationally as one of the leaders and educators of the instrument, widely known for his speed, control and command.

Take a look at all of the music events we’ve got on, it’s not everyday there’s such an array of talented musicians in one month!

Take care,

Pippi Longstocking Lands in Takapuna

Auckland’s leading theatre for children, Tim Bray Productions, presents the story of Pippi Longstocking. It is one that has excited, amused and intrigued generations of children all over the world.

The irrepressible Pippi is being played by the talented Tineke Ann Robson, who first donned the flaming red hair and flamboyant stockings in 2013. Audiences were in awe of her acrobatics, comedic timing and infectious smile, so we are thrilled to have Tineke back for another show!

The irrepressible Pippi is being played by the talented Tineke Ann Robson.

She has graced New Zealand stages and screens, notably as Ophelia in the popular TV series Spartacus, War of the Damned. Since her knock-out 2013 performance as Pippi, Tineke has been in London where she has worked on various films including playing an Auror in J.K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

“I am constantly wowed by Pippi. Her physical prowess is impressive, and she embodies spunk and enthusiasm for unconventional living with ease.”

“This is a thoroughly entertaining children’s show that I’ve really loved seeing; I encourage childless adult fans not to feel at all odd going along. It is a lovingly created tribute to Pippi, and any fan of any age will find it a pleasure. ” – Theatreview (2013)

Pippi Longstocking is at The PumpHouse Theatre Takapuna, Auckland in April opening with a Gala performance on Saturday 7 April at 5pm. Performance times from 9-13 April are 10:30am and 1pm daily; and from 14-28 April at 10:30am and 2pm (no shows on Sundays or Anzac Day).

A New Zealand Sign Language interpreted performance is on Thursday 12th April at 10.30am, with Audio Described performances with touch tours on Tuesday 10th April at 12pm and Saturday 21st April at 1pm.

Tickets for Pippi Longstocking are available by phoning (09) 489-8360 or online here.

Pippi Longstocking, Tim Bray Productions, Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand, Friday, July 05, 2013.


The Official Pippi Longstocking 2018 Trailer is here!

A Day In A Life Of The PumpHouse Volunteer – Diana

Have you met Diana?

Diana Pinto just wants some sunshine, arepa and sand between her toes. We’re doing our best with that, but no matter how hard global warming hits, New Zealand is nothing compared to the delicious heat of Diana’s Colombian hometown San Gil. She has come to us with a wealth of experience in design and we’ve been lucky to have her on board this last month.

Tell us five random facts about yourself

I love drawing

Life doesn’t happen without a coffee (I’m Colombian)

I speak to my family every day because they’re the best

I am freakishly obsessed with cats, but have never owned one

I would love to go to Thailand

How did you come to volunteer at The Pumphouse Theatre?

I was looking to volunteer within the Arts Industry on the North Shore, and sent my CV in to The PumpHouse. I was so happy to hear that The PumpHouse could use my skills as a designer!

What did you study and has it helped you in the role?

I’ve studied many things, including Industrial Design as my Bachelor’s, then Graphic Design as my Master’s. I also have a certificate in commercial cookery which I completed when I lived in Melbourne. Needless to say, my Graphic Design Master’s has helped me in refreshing The PumpHouse’s branding.

When did you start getting involved in the performing arts?

This is my first time! I’ve never worked in the industry before, it’s really exciting to do something new.

What do you like about working here?

I love the fact that I am helping such an amazing organisation, but also I’m improving my skills and gaining lots of great experience. This sounds quite strange, but it’s also really therapeutic for me – it’s been a great way to meet new people, learn a lot about myself and the environment on the lake is so relaxing.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in your job recently?

I have loved redesigning the logo – but also the new Ticket Insert. That was my first project so I have a special attachment to that one. The logo was really fun to sketch and I learned so much about the history of the building whilst designing it; I’m glad I was able to give it a modern feel.

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

I wake up at 7am and make breakfast for me and my partner. Sometimes I go back to bed, I love bed.

What do you do behind the scenes that people don’t know?

I listen to music. I don’t know if James knows that (he does now!). But on a serious note, everything you see about The PumpHouse, from your print-at-home ticket to the email newsletter header is being refreshed. It’s been well thought-out, considered against several alternatives and gone through a million drafts.

What do you get up to after hours?

I go jogging, I make dinner each night and I’m starting to do yoga and meditation. I try to draw when I can find the time and the most important thing – I speak with my family each night, they keep me grounded.

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

[Diana laughs]. Apart from lying on the couches upstairs with Amy? We have good chats and good laughs, and chocolate.

What’s your all-time favourite show?

Back home in Colombia, there’s a show called descarate con la Azcarate. It’s translated like “The Shameless Azcarate”. It’s a comedy that makes fun of relationships with men back home, and how silly Colombian men are!

A Day In The Life Of The PumpHouse Staff – James


Have you met James?

James is clever, even by our standards. He understands words no longer found in the dictionary and if you find someone who looks at you the way James looks at a Shakespeare script, marry them immediately. Passionate about theatre from a young age, these star crossed lovers met right on our doorstep. He’s a true local representative and has the not-so-small task of managing The PumpHouse Theatre.


Tell us five random facts about yourself

I was named after Captain James T Kirk of The Starship Enterprise

My favourite Shakespeare play is Macbeth

I collect fancy notebooks that I never seem to use

I’ve watched every episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

I had careers in IT, social services and corporate communications before I worked at The PumpHouse

How did you come to work at The Pumphouse Theatre?

I applied for the Business Managers’ role about four years ago.  To my surprise, the Board decided my rather eclectic collection of skills was exactly what they were looking for!

What did you study and has it helped you in the role?

I studied Information Systems and Mathematics at Massey University.  Project planning and having a ‘big picture’ overview are probably the most useful things I use.

When did you start getting involved in the performing arts?

I’ve played music for as long as I can remember, but got involved as part of the stage crew for the school shows when I was at Wairau Intermediate.

What do you like about working here?

Aside from the amazing location, getting to help a wide range of people share their stories is a real privilege.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in your job recently

It’s always a bit of a buzz when a funding application is successful.  We were just granted some money by the New Zealand Community Trust to buy theatre lighting for the Coal Bunker Studio, so it’s exciting to be placing the order and waiting for delivery!

What do you do behind the scenes that people don’t know?

So much effort goes into Health and Safety – if everything goes well you’ll have a safe visit and never feel at risk – but that’s because of the work we do to anticipate problems and fix them before anything goes wrong.

What do you get up to after hours?

I’m usually either directing a show or going to see a show. I like theatre..!

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

I usually eat lunch at my desk while I keep work.  It’s a terrible thing to do and I should get up and go for a walk in the park.

What’s your all-time favourite show?

It’s constantly changing, but Matilda The Musical and the National Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night are top of the list at the moment.

Have You Seen Andre?

Probably not, he’s always disappearing! Expect a whole lot more than just a rabbit out of a hat.

Where have we seen Andre before?

  • New Zealand’s Got Talent 2012
  • Rainbow’s End! He was the resident illusionist for three years.
  • All over New Zealand and our TV – Andre has been touring since 2016.

Needless to say, we’re extremely excited to be hosting his highly acclaimed Magic & Illusion Show!

Facts About AndreImage result for andre vegas

  • He’s been performing since the age of 12 and professionally since the age of 14!!
  • He has a range of shows up his sleeve, including adult horror and large scale illusions
  • Andre’s pet rabbit is one of the stars. His name is Chocolate lips and he is so big he wouldn’t fit in a hat!
  • Andre’s assistants, Elise and Adriana (who is also his wife) both have dance and performance backgrounds. Adriana performed and traveled the world with The royal New Zealand Ballet for 11 years.

About The Show

Expect the unexpected!

There are appearances and disappearances, dress changes, neon sword temples, levitation, animals and much more.

Plus everyone will get the chance to meet Andre and the cast following the show.

Just because we’re so excited, here’s a cheeky preview:

Show Info & Tickets

A Day In The Life Of The PumpHouse Staff – Amy


Have you met Amy?

Amy may sound like a stereotypical English radio-broadcaster from the 60’s, but she maintains she’s a true London cockney at heart. Meet the newest member of The PumpHouse family!


Tell us five random facts about yourself

I am a chocolate addict.

I am an amateur professional ballroom dancer and have danced for Strictly Come Dancing.

As a child, I broke my parents’ ceiling from dancing in my bedroom too much.

I’m a twin and my horoscope is Gemini.

I was born in London, but my Dad is from New Zealand. Dual citizenship for the win!

How did you come to work at The Pumphouse Theatre?

I was looking for a sales and marketing position in a theatre, and when I heard The PumpHouse was hiring I got super excited!

What do you do here?

I’m the Box Office Coordinator, so I am in charge of the ticketing and marketing of the events that come through our venue.

 What did you study and has it helped you in the role?

I studied Spanish and Italian at University, so my degree has given me lots of transferable skills – I’m a great communicator and can put on a mean Spanish accent. But it was my last job in London where I gained my marketing guru status.

When did you start getting involved in the performing arts?

I think I started dancing before I could walk. I joined a stage company at a young age and loved it. My favourite memories are of growing up taking part in musicals such as “Oliver!” and Michael Jackson concerts.

What do you like about working here?

I have so many amazing memories of performing at community theatres, that I want others to have that opportunity too. It’s hard to go from having a passion to becoming a professional, and I think that’s what The PumpHouse achieves. They welcome amateurs and professionals alike, serving as an amazing non-for-profit platform for budding artists.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in your job recently

This is going to sound super nerdy, but I love ripping up the tickets in the Box Office. It’s so satisfying.

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

I’m very lucky – I live in Takapuna, so I walk to work! I wake up at 7am, make a healthy juice / go for a run, and get going. Or more likely I just lie in.

What do you do behind the scenes that people don’t know?

There’s a lot of database management involved in the ticketing service, and it takes up more time than you’d think!

What do you get up to after hours?

I like to go and see shows as often as I can, whether that’s a play, gig or some stand-up comedy.

What’s your all-time favourite show?

Tough one! I really enjoyed the National Theatre’s performance of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. But equally I get very excited about Shakespeare season as I love outdoor performances.

Happy New Year from The PumpHouse Theatre!

An exciting 2018 ahead

Happy New Year from everyone at The PumpHouse Theatre. We’ve been busy over the break taking the opportunity to clean and reorganise ready for the year ahead.

The calendar of events is filling up for 2018.  We’ve got three school holiday programmes this month, two shows taking part in the Auckland Fringe and two burlesque shows – and that’s all before Easter!

The best way to keep up to date with what’s coming up at The PumpHouse is to join our mailing list – and you’ll get the chance to win free tickets, too.

A wonderful Christmas Carols concert

The capacity crowd sing-a-long with the community choir

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in our Christmas Carols in the Amphitheatre concert in December.

It’s fair to say we were a little overwhelmed with the number of enthusiastic singers who came – we estimate about 320 people in total – far more than we had expected.

We’re looking at what we can do this year to make sure no one misses out on being a part of this special Christmas tradition at The PumpHouse.

Thanks again to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, Gail and Ken Pianta at Harcourts Cooper & Co for their generous support that makes the event possible.

 Haere rā, Gill

At the end of 2017 we said farewell to Gill Saker, our Ticketing Manager.

It’s hard to describe just how much Gill has contributed over the twelve years she has been with The PumpHouse looking after the box office, marketing and communications, fundraising, school bookings and almost everything in between.

She’s also been our chief cat-tamer, taking over Tiger care responsibilities from Mike Murphy when he retired a couple of years ago.

We’re sorry to lose Gill’s skills and expertise but we look forward to working with her on some exciting projects in the future.

Ticketing changes

We are thrilled to offer a Print-at-home ticket option for most shows at The PumpHouse from the beginning of 2018.

This means you don’t have to wait for tickets to arrive in the post or line up to collect them on the night of the show – they’ll appear in your inbox soon after you’ve bought them online.  Just print off your ticket and show it to the ushers when you arrive.

(And keep an eye out for a special deal from Madam Woo on your Print-at-Home ticket for a limited time)

We hope to be able to offer a similar service for phone bookings in the future.

From 1 January we’ve added a credit card processing fee to online and phone bookings; and we’ve introduced a booking fee for tickets purchased in person at the box office prior to the day of the performance.

We operate our own booking and ticketing system rather than outsourcing this to a large company like Ticketmaster so we can keep costs down and provide the best possible service to audiences and artists.

Your booking fee contributes significantly to helping us to keep The PumpHouse Theatre affordable for our community.

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