The Latest News From The PumpHouse Theatre - Takapuna, Auckland

Six Special Celebrations!

The past few months have been jam-packed with excitement here at The PumpHouse, so we thought we’d compile a list of six notable achievements, events, and upgrades that have happened recently. Take a read!

  1. Our wonderful friend Alan Reekie has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to performing arts governance! Alan always has a cheery smile and an amusing anecdote at the ready and is a much-loved member of The PumpHouse team. He has been Secretary of our Trust Board from 2007, then Treasurer from 2011 to 2014, being made a Life Member in 2018. He’s also been involved in the North Shore Performing Arts Society since the 80’s in similar roles – all as a volunteer!
    You can read the full QSM citation here.
  2. We held an open day in May to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of The North Shore Theatre and Arts Trust which administers The Pumphouse Theatre. People came and enjoyed some delicious kai, interesting market stalls, exclusive back-stage tours, and entertainment from singers, dancers, musicians, and even a pirate!
  3. Continuing the 50th-anniversary celebrations, we held an evening at the theatre for members of the PumpHouse community to acknowledge their contributions and the love they’ve put into our wonderful theatre. Among the attendees were original Friends of The PumpHouse – Ruth Ell, Genevieve Becroft, and Angela Antony (pictured below). We ended the evening with a staged play reading of Peg Escott’s play “Saved”. Peg was an integral part of the team that saved The PumpHouse from demolition and lay the foundations for what would become a vibrant hub for the performing arts.
  4. We have a brand new jetty area! Auckland Council’s Contractors have been hard at work to make the jetty area a more accessible, appealing space – and my oh my is it APPEALING! Our bet is that it will be a favourite lunch spot for many over the warmer months. It also makes for a picture-perfect spot in front of the theatre. Thank you to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board for the much-needed work on this area. Iron pipes that helped supply the North Shore with water more than 100 years ago were also rediscovered during the work and will be kept in place for the public to view. You can read more about the pipes here.
  5. Love is in the air at The PumpHouse! 🥰 On Saturday 19th June, Comedian and Magician Jarred Fell proposed to the woman of his dreams during his performance on our stage in front of a sold-out crowd! …She said yes! 💍 Congratulations Jarred & Ashlee!
  6. A few shows that were on at The PumpHouse in 2020 won awards for their efforts in the ACTT Awards. The winners were announced earlier in the year, and have just recently been handed out. Foolish Wit Theatre and Shoreside Theatre were among the production companies that won some exciting awards. Pictured below is Jenn Onyeiwu with her Best Female Actor award for her outstanding performance in The Vagina Monologues, with director Meg Andrews (yes, the Meg Andrews writing this blog post! 😅)

Open Day at The PumpHouse

You’re invited to the Pumphouse Theatre’s open day!

Head on down to The Pumphouse Theatre this Sunday 23 May between 10am and 4pm for our first annual open day.

The family-friendly day includes free tours of the theatre, the chance to try on some costumes, and to learn about stage lighting. There’s also a line-up of entertainment including musicians, dancers, and performers.


The PumpHouse is pleased to present Aorere College showcasing their upcoming multimedia performance at The PumpHouse who will be at the event along with Market stalls selling arts and crafts, food trucks, and the French Rendez-vous Café.

Mags Delaney, the Community Engagement Coordinator, says “This is a chance for us to extend a welcome to our community beyond our regular supporters and share our ‘little gem’ even further.”


Once a year The Pumphouse Theatre opens its doors giving people the opportunity to see behind the scenes of this iconic building. This year’s open day coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of The North Shore Theatre and Arts Trust which administers The Pumphouse Theatre.

Creative Talks 2021 Line-up

Our popular Creative Talk series is back and well underway for the year. This free monthly event hosted by The PumpHouse Theatre opened with a flourish in March with a talk from Forrest Hill resident Linda Cartwright. Linda is a vocal coach and actor who has worked with many notable actors on projects such as The Lord of The Rings Trilogy.

The remaining 2021 line-up of talks includes:

🌟 Actor Denise Snoad – April 12

🌟 Actor, Director, and Producer Jodie Dorday – June 8 

🌟 Renowned local Historian and Author David Veart – July 19

🌟 Producer and Director Alexandra McKellar – August 23 

🌟 Director, Producer, and Actor Catherine Boniface – September 13

These incredible people all have a connection with The PumpHouse in their artistic careers.

“There’s a bit of a ‘women in theatre’ vibe about our programme this year,” says Mags Delaney, Community Engagement Coordinator.  “All of our guests are actively involved in producing, directing, and performing shows this year.”

The PumpHouse Theatre’s Creative Talks series aims to bring the community together with creatives to discover more about their process and what inspires them. Each event explores what goes on behind the scenes to create their unique art. There is something for everyone with an interest in the arts and what inspires and drives creativity.

The event is free with tea and coffee provided. Booking a seat on The PumpHouse website is recommended due to the limited number of spaces available.

More details can be found here.

Take a Virtual Tour of The PumpHouse Theatre!

Come and explore our breathtakingly beautiful heritage building with a virtual tour of The PumpHouse Theatre! Go behind the scenes and explore areas that are usually only seen by actors and backstage crew. This is the perfect opportunity for you to experience the atmosphere of our theatre without leaving home.

Click here to be taken on the virtual tour.

About the virtual tour

Created by Muse3D, one of New Zealand’s leading providers of full-immersion, virtual reality tours for the real estate, tourism, and commercial industries.

Muse 3D uses a high-tech Matterport 3D visionary system which consists of 9 lenses, and sensors, to capture 3D imagery.

The Matterport Scanner doesn’t take photographs or video, instead, it scans a property, which in turn, creates a fully immersive, virtual tour which allows you to tour the haunted locations we investigate. All from your computer, phone, or in virtual reality!

Covid-19: Feb/Mar 2021 Edition

Last updated: Saturday 27 February, 2021

In line with Covid-19 Level 3 guidelines we are closed form Sunday 28 February 2021 until at least Sunday 7th March 2021

We are working with producers of upcoming shows and events to look at options to reschedule events, and will be in touch with ticket holders as soon as we can. This blog will be regularly updated with any cancellations or postponements. 
  • The Word Is Love (Jubilation Choir):  Performance cancelled.  We are confirming with the producer if they will reschedule and will contact ticket holders by email.
  • Random Fairytale Generator (Improverished):  Performances cancelled.  We are confirming with the producer if they will reschedule and will contact ticket holders by email.
  • Aroha is a Maori:  Performances cancelled.  We are confirming with the producer if they will reschedule and will contact ticket holders by email.
The best way to get hold of PumpHouse Theatre staff is by emailing
The French Rendez-vous Café is also closed until further notice.
Keep smiling! 🎭

Five Quick Q’s with Mags!

This week, our resident drama teacher and Shakespeare nut, Mags Delaney is running a 5-day workshop on all-things Shakespeare for 12 – 18 year olds. We managed to grab a moment of her time to ask her 5 Quick Q’s about the workshop and her love for the Bard.

You can come along to watch these talented young actors in action this Friday 15 Jan at 7 pm, with their performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in our outdoor Amphitheatre!

Can you briefly describe what the workshop is all about?
Mags: The workshop is a chance for young performers to have the opportunity to put together a Shakespearian play from scratch. Through exploring the story and the characters and becoming familiar with the language we are concentrating on A Midsummer Night’s Dream which we hope to perform on Friday evening in the Amphitheatre.

What is it like working with these young budding actors?
Mags: It is very inspiring to work with young people who have no fear about Shakespeare and who are willing to have a go, to follow direction, and take themselves out of their comfort zones. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing young performers develop as the workshop progresses – and to have the confidence to perform on stage when they may have started off lacking in confidence in their own abilities.

What do you love about Shakespeare?
Mags: I love everything about Shakespeare! The stories, the fabulous rhythm of the words, and the wonderful characters he created. For a man, he wrote some fantastic female roles.

What is your favourite part of teaching these workshops?
Mags: I love seeing the actors grow in confidence and the development of a cast but most of all I love to see the words come alive in performance the way Shakespeare wrote them.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to learn and understand Shakespeare?
Mags: Don’t be afraid! The themes in Shakespeare’s plays are the same you see on TV and in movies – there’s comedy, romance, deception, betrayal, murder, scheming and sometimes a happy ending! If you’ve seen it on Shortie St or at the cinema Shakespeare probably wrote about it first.
And don’t worry about the words – there are lots of modern transcripts about for you to get the idea of the story and the characters and once you have that you can begin to play with Shakespeare’s words.

Help Us Add Some Sparkle & Joy This Christmas!

The PumpHouse Theatre is bringing a little extra sparkle and joy this festive season. After the wild year we’ve all had, we are looking to help support our local community this Christmas.

From December 1st we will have an empty Christmas present box sitting in our foyer under the tree – which we hope you will help us fill! You can contribute non-perishable goods (and things like toothpaste, shampoo and feminine hygiene products), or maybe wrap up a gift for a child or adult.

We are supporting Shore Vineyard based in Forrest Hill who run a foodbank, and De Paul House in Birkenhead who provide shelter and support for families in need.

So come along and visit us before a show, or any time between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, and help us to spread the Christmas joy!

We’re Getting a Courtyard Canopy!

Artist impression of what the canopy will look like

We are excited that we will soon have a canopy over the courtyard at The PumpHouse Theatre!

For a long time, patrons to the PumpHouse have had to battle all sorts of weather conditions as they make a mad dash over to our toilets. The canopy will provide much-needed protection for wet and windy days, harmful sun rays, plus the odd hail storm! It will also ensure we have somewhere sheltered for children to eat their lunch after a show, and a space to host gala functions which overlooks the beautiful Lake Pupuke.

We have partnered with Shade Systems to design and build the canopy, along with Dave Pearson Architects who have ensured the design compliments the existing building’s heritage architecture.

Artist impression of what the canopy will look like

We have the support of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, Auckland Council and Heritage New Zealand, but we still need a bit of help.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Becroft Foundation, we have already funded approximately $12,000 for Heritage Impact assessments, Heritage Architects, and resources consents.

To complete the construction phase our goal is to raise a modest $60,000 to complete construction and associated improvements to landscaping and lighting. Get in touch if you’d like to donate! 🌞

Find out more about our Courtyard Canopy Project


Why we are Celebrating Peg Escott

Peg Escott was involved in the local amateur dramatic scene as director and was part of the group who championed the saving of The PumpHouse building, which today remains a vibrant hub of The Arts. This is why Peg is very dear to us, and why we want to celebrate her! 

She was very well-known and respected in the world of drama in New Zealand, and specifically on the North Shore. She was a published author of three novels, one of which, ‘Showdown’, was republished as part of the New Zealand fiction series in 1973. Her stage play Saved – A Melodrama was written to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Auckland and reflects the Auckland of the past. 

Her love of the performing arts saw her become an adjudicator for the British Drama League (New Zealand Branch) and a regular panelist on radio 1YC’s arts panel.

Few of Peg’s works still exist but those that do give us a glimpse into not only Peg’s creativity but also Auckland of yesteryear. 

Sadly, the long-time Milford resident died suddenly in 1977, just before The PumpHouse opened as a community arts hub, but her memory remains.

On Monday 16 November at 7pm, we will be honouring Peg by presenting an evening of readings, performance, and stories from those who knew her. We would love for you to join us in Celebrating Peg Escott. Tickets are only $10! Book here


Brand Spankin’ New Shiny Things!

Thanks to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, we have been lucky to have some gorgeous enhancements to our already-gorgeous building!

The front of the theatre is looking dreamy with some new doors – a definite upgrade from the last ones with a stunning caramel tint that really suits our brick aesthetic. The old doors had a bit of a leak and were slowly rotting away… so we are very grateful for the new doors!

Meg is excited to have her biggest fan join her in the box office! It’ll definitely make those sweltering-hot summer days and nights more bearable.

The stage has also had a bit of a cheeky makeover, with new theatre drapes making the Genevieve Becroft Auditorium ooze with theatrical beauty. The curtains are a slightly different shade of red to what they were – but we all agree that the colour is even more decadent than before. We also have new black tabs!

And last but not least, we’ve had some lighting upgrades! These have helped to brighten up our foyer, and put a lovely spotlight on our Tukutuku panel.

A MASSIVE thank you to…

🎉 Devonport-Takapuna Local Board 

🎉 Greg at Stage Mechanics for the drapes

🎉 Andy and the team at Walker Willis Developments for the doors

🎉 Patrick at Britesparx Electrical

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