🎄 The PumpHouse Theatre Community Christmas Choir 🎄

Our wonderful PumpHouse Community Choir has been out in full force entertaining the community with some magical Christmas Carols. On Saturday 7 December they performed at the PHAB Christmas Party, which was a fun and special event to be part of. This is the fourth year they have been invited to entertain at PHAB, and they look forward to returning again next Christmas.

Our choir gets together a few weeks before Christmas in preparation for our annual Christmas Carols in the Amphitheatre. They are excited to spread some more Christmas joy this Sunday at the sold-out event!

Find out more about our choir here

Our Rejuvenated Amphitheatre!

The beloved PumpHouse Amphitheatre has had a gorgeous makeover, with brand new seating, a new fence, and a fancy new tech box at the back of the theatre – which we think would make quite the fab little Lakeside Air BnB!

 

Auckland Councils contractors were hard at work over the Winter months to get the space ready for the Summer season. They begun by pulling up all the old wooden seating and fence and replacing them, then re-roofed the leaky storage room and rebuilt the lighting platform into a fully self-contained (and secure) room.

To add the cherry on top, we had the garden re-planted with a selection of natives to complement the work Stephen had already done at the top of the seating, which will hopefully be in full bloom ready for the Shakespeare season in January/February 2020!

Next year, we are looking forward to also getting a new deck added to the stage right performance space.

If you want to check out this revamped space, why not come along to our Christmas Carols in the Amphitheatre on Sunday 15 December at 6 pm! More details here: https://pumphouse.co.nz/whats-on/show/christmas-carols-in-the-umphouse-amphitheatre-2019/

Thanks to The Devonport Takapuna Local Board and Auckland Council for their support.

Movie Fundraiser Supporting The PumpHouse

The PumpHouse Theatre’s Trust Board welcomed our Friends to a fun-filled fundraising evening at Bridgeway Cinema last night for the screening of the new Judy Garland biopic – Judy, starring the phenomenal Renée Zellweger.

The evening started off with delicious wine and nibbles and a chance to catch up before moving into the theatre for a capacity premiere screening of the film.

We hear the film was excellent, with Renée Zellweger a strong contender for an Academy Award.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards The PumpHouse Theatre’s funding goals supporting our operating costs and installing a canopy over the outdoor courtyard area.

Thank you to everyone who came to support our gorgeous theatre, your contribution helps to ensure it continues to thrive as a creative hub on the North Shore!

(Check out our Facebook page at https://bit.ly/2MmCf4B to see more pictures from the night)

Te Wairua o te Whare Tapere – Our New Tukutuku Panel

Te Wairua o te Whare Tapere

We had a special unveiling and pōwhiri for our new tukutuku panel at The PumpHouse Theatre on Friday 6 September.

Tracy Makoare-Watene and Joanne Maihi

Woven by the incredible Tracy Makoare-Watene and Joanne Maihi from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei – this is the first tukutuku panel these talented wāhine have created.

It accurately and lovingly represents the story of the PumpHouse and the land it sits on, and pays tribute to the community who worked to save it from demolition and transform it into a theatre. It features the stars of Matariki, and it even includes a small red star for Peg Escott – who was a very important part of saving The PumpHouse, and is now our friendly theatre ghost.

“Te Wairua o te Whare Tapere” – is the name it has been blessed with. Te Wairua is your soul or spirit and Te Whare Tapere is a place for entertainment, storytelling and dance, so the name, translated to English represents “The spirit of the theatre”

Peg Escott’s ‘star’ watching over the theatre (at the top right-hand side of the panel).

We welcome you to come and view this beautiful weaving which we are so proud of.

Photography by Dave Andrews

 

 

The PumpHouse Theatre Recognises Significant Friends

Four people who have made an incredible impact on the The PumpHouse Theatre’s legacy were honored at the theatre’s Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday 21 August.

Awarded life membership of Friends of The PumpHouse were Playwright Sir Roger Hall, Writer and Director Tim Bray QSM, North Shore theatre stalwart Angela Antony QSM, and PumpHouse Trust Board member Margie Hart.

“We’re pleased to recognise these people who have made such a valuable contribution to The PumpHouse. Without them, our theatre wouldn’t exist.” said Peter Burn, Chairman of the theatre’s Trust Board.

The North Shore Theatre and Arts Trust was established in 1971 by a group of passionate locals to champion the project of saving The PumpHouse building from demolition, and to transform it into a performing arts centre.

They oversee the governance of the theatre to ensure that it remains open and accessible to members of the local Takapuna community and surrounding areas who have a story or performance to share.

Anyone can become a Friend of The PumpHouse. Members typically support the theatre by volunteering, making donations, attending fundraisers or sitting on the Trust Board.

For more information visit https://pumphouse.co.nz/support/join/

Margie Hart, Peter Burn, Roger Hall, Tim Bray and Angela Antony

A Day In The Life Of Our PumpHouse Staff – Paul Carroll

Meet Paul Carroll – one of our wonderful Duty Managers at The PumpHouse! Get to know more about Paul and his life-long connection to the world of Performing Arts below.

How did you come to work at The PumpHouse Theatre?

Since becoming involved with (recreational) theatre the PumpHouse was often an integral part of this. Having a character and warmth all of its own, it’s a venue that always had that feeling of coming home whenever we were doing a show here.

When the opportunity arose to become one of the team of Duty Managers here, it was a great way of maintaining this association.

When did you start getting involved in the Performing Arts?

Theatre and Music has always been an important presence and interest in my family whilst growing up and on into later life. A gift, in a manner of speaking, inherited from our parents who had both been involved and met though doing community theatre in Hamilton.

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

Meeting and working with people who all share a common interest and passion “theatre”.  To be with these Performers, Producers, PumpHouse staff and Audiences all coming together to make these special events happen.

What do you get up to after hours?

Retired so fortunate now to be able to spend time in doing the things I enjoy. Most importantly, that’s time with family and in particular my grandsons. Recreational theatre continues to be a passion and I enjoy being involved in selected productions. I also enjoy playing and ‘trying’ to master the guitar. This however seems to be a never ending quest but it is still fun trying.

Retirement is also an opportunity to pay back into the community. For me that’s working as a volunteer on one of the wards at Waitakere Hospital.

What’s your all-time favourite show?

“Ragtime”

A Day In The Life Of Our PumpHouse Staff – Āria Harrison-Sparke

Introducing the creative and very talented Āria, who is part of our Box Office crew! Āria is a valued part of The PumpHouse, not only does she work here, but she has also performed here and designed and created many of the stunning costumes you may have seen gracing our stages.

Get to know more about the charming Āria below!

 

Tell us five random facts about yourself:

  • I was a part of the Air Training Cadets for 3 years and was in the drill team and the shooting team.
  • I love historical clothing and its use in theatre – leading me into a Costume Design degree that I’m now halfway through.
  • My Grandmother taught me to speak some Welsh when I was younger – particularly the longest place name in the world

  • (llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch).
  • I can’t ride a bike or whistle.
  • After my High-School Graduation speech they made a new rule banning graduation speeches.

How did you come to work at The PumpHouse Theatre?

I was performing in Romeo & Juliet for Auckland Shakespeare in The Park and spending a lot of time at the PumpHouse before rehearsals as I was in school holidays. I started helping out day-to-day and eventually was offered a job and have been working here ever since!

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

In my final years of school I studied Drama, Social Anthropology and History and I am now halfway through a Costume Design & Management Degree at Unitec. It’s definitely helped me develop my knowledge around theatre which is always beneficial during a shift. 

When did you start getting involved in the Performing Arts?

I’ve always loved stories – especially Shakespeare – and started coming to the PumpHouse around the age of 7 to watch Auckland Shakespeare at The PumpHouse annually. The first show I was part of was Macbeth when I was in Year 12 – although I missed the deadline for auditions so helped out backstage doing costumes, props and makeup. After that I started performing and threw myself into as many productions as I could which lead me in a circle back to the PumpHouse.  

What do you like about working here?

I love the staff, they’re such a great group and I’m very grateful that I have the privilege to work with them.  

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

I always enjoy the exposure to diverse theatre and performances that the PumpHouse offers as well as the people I get to meet. 

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

I try to set my alarm for 8 – but I have a cat who loves to wake me up every half hour after 4am!

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

I love vine compilations. 

What do you get up to after hours?

I’m a big lover of watching as much theatre/film/TV as I can.

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

Sometimes I just relax or browse the web – usually though its finding a way to keep working as I eat.

What’s your all-time favourite show?

I’m going to have to say Shakespeare (which isn’t a show but I can’t choose!)

A Day In The Life Of Our PumpHouse Staff – Sofie Gabriel

Introducing Sofie, who is part of our wonderful Box Office team! Sofie is an actor, singer, drama teacher and all round lovely creative soul. Get to know more about Sofie below.

Tell us five random facts about yourself:

 

  • My family on my Dad’s side is from Greece.
  • I’ve eaten a spider before for a bet when I was younger.
  • My favourite food is olives (though this won’t be a surprise to close friends and family).
  • I opera sing every now and then.
  • One of my first celebrity crushes was the actor who played Sirius Black in Harry Potter.

 

How did you come to work at The PumpHouse Theatre?

A friend knew I was looking for a job and sent me through an advertisement for Box Office! I love The PumpHouse having performed there a couple times, so decided to go for it!

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

I studied Drama and English at university, but only for a short time. It certainly has helped in terms of learning about the world of theatre and also set me up with time management and organisation.

When did you start getting involved in the performing arts?

My parents forced me to audition for a theatre show nearly three years ago now, and even though I was the most nervous I’ve ever been I got a role and haven’t looked back! Crazy to think how different life would be if I hadn’t been pushed into the car that afternoon to drive to the audition! Before that though, I had done lots of theatre at school and dance as well.

What do you like about working here?

The people, the building and location. Gosh, it’s the most beautiful place to work! Being surrounded by art and people enthusiastic about theatre is a joy!

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

I helped an evacuation after a fire alarm went off just before a show! It wasn’t fun, but was certainly adrenaline filled.

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

Really early sadly. About 6 am, 7 am on a good day. I am getting better though at training myself to sleep just a little longer in the morning.

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

Some people know, but I am currently having singing training with a fabulous teacher. I am working hard to get into musical theatre!

What do you get up to after hours?

Every spare moment alone at home I get, I am singing and rehearsing my songs. Otherwise I am hanging with friends, going to the movies or long drives and spending time with family.

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

I usually take my lunch down to the lake edge and watch the goings on and people watch. It’s proving a bit hard in the winter time, but the view from inside my car facing the lake is just as good!

What’s your all-time favourite show?

I adored Lysistrata when I saw it a few years ago starring Amanda Billing. I have never enjoyed a show so much, and would be something I would love to be a part of in future.

A Day In The Life Of Our PumpHouse Staff – Meg Andrews

Meg is the newest addition to our team – taking on the role of Box Office Coordinator and Social Media Guru.

We asked the fabulous Meg to tell us a bit about herself!

Tell us five random facts about yourself:

At the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for the premiere of ‘Geostorm’
  • I was born with a hole in my heart.
  • I once fell down a cliff and didn’t break a bone, then a few months later I fell of a couch and broke my arm.
  • I’m very easily star struck, even by D-List celebrities… and even by my friends who have reached a somewhat celeb status.
  • I’ve seen nearly every inch of NZ, from my time with The Ugly Shakespeare Company, and when I was the face of a Z Energy campaign. But also, my parents took me all over the country as a child.
  • I have attended a Hollywood Film Premiere with Gerard Butler. (Well, when I say with… I’m sure he looked at me!)

How did you come to work at The PumpHouse Theatre?

I have performed at the PumpHouse in many different productions since moving to Auckland, and it is a place that is very dear to my heart. I was at The PumpHouse enough that James Bell offered me a position, and here I am! The PumpHouse feels like home to me and they will struggle to get rid of me!

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

A collage of some of the shows Meg has performed in. (She likes to use the same shocked face for all her characters…haha)

I have studied Performing Arts and On Screen Acting…so I suppose they help me to ‘act’ like I know what I’m doing in my role…haha.

When did you start getting involved in the Performing Arts?

When I was six months old, I starred as Baby Jesus in a play…then studied and performed as a Ballerina from the age of 3. I always loved being on stage, so it was only natural that I became interested in acting as I entered my teens. Learning about Shakespeare at High School was a turning point for me and was when I realised I wanted Acting to be my profession.

What do you like about working here?

Meg as Titania sleeping under her tree.

The lake, the birds, the bricks, the ghosts, all different nooks and crannies of the theatre…the history, the people. But what I love the most is my tree in the amphitheatre that I ‘slept’ underneath as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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

I loved working with Ali Harper when she was here to perform Legendary Divas. She is very inspiring.

Meg as Titania with Mark Wilson who played Oberon.

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

It varies…I am a very deep sleeper so… after my alarm has gone off about 35 times…otherwise I am unsure I would ever wake!

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

Well…Don’t tell anyone but… I write James’ Channel Magazine columns for him!

What do you get up to after hours?

Meg at the Grand Canyon.

I act, I write, I belly dance, I direct shows, I travel. I spend a lot of time daydreaming.😂

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

I eat or I spend time hunting for a good feed. I try to find a sunny spot to roast in. Sometimes I can be found trawling through the secret cookie stash we have 😉

What’s your all-time favourite show?

So maaaany… A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pericles, Wicked, Rent, Cabaret, Chicago, Lovepuke, Awhi Tapu…and every show I have been in holds a special place in my heart 😉

Oh and M. Butterfly which I saw in NYC starring Clive Owens was a special experience!

Meg also MC’s our PumpHouse Christmas Carols!

A Day In The Life Of Our PumpHouse Staff – Helena Easey

Helena is our dynamic, multi-tasking Administrator. Her positive and warm nature along with her amazing office skills and passion for the Performing Arts is a huge asset to our PumpHouse family!

Read more about the lovely Helena below.

Tell us five random facts about yourself:

I lived in Vietnam for 18 months, have been an extra on various adverts and TV shows, married with 2 children and a dog, love Escape Room game apps and would love to go zip lining.

Helena’s dog, Missy.

How did you come to work at The Pumphouse Theatre?

I started working in the Box Office last year on a casual basis and was then fortunate enough to be offered the role as Administrator.

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

I left school at 16 and went straight into a job as an office junior. Luckily the company also had in-house secretarial training – we were taught on a manual typewriter with the keys painted over and there was a metronome which you had to keep up with – how things have changed, but it was a great introduction to my office career.

When did you start getting involved in the Performing Arts?

I have always had an interest in Performing Arts but never had a lot of confidence. Fortunately, there are ways of being involved without having to be centre stage – being an extra and working behind the scenes works well for me 😊

What do you like about working here?

Most days are quite varied here.  I enjoy seeing the different performers arriving and getting ready for their shows.  The other staff members are so much fun to work with and I love the fact that the Pumphouse Theatre is beautifully located by Lake Pupuke.

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

After many years of office work I am finally learning how to do invoicing and payroll. You’re never too old to learn new skills.

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

If I’m lucky, about 7.15am, earlier if the dog starts barking!

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

I put up the posters in the toilets 😉

What do you get up to after hours?

I spend the time with family and friends, going to shows, movies and walking the dog.

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

I tend to eat at my desk if I’m at work or I do word puzzles if I’m at home.

What’s your all-time favourite show?

Impossible to give just one answer – When I saw Les Miserables many years ago in London it made me cry – I saw A Comedy of Errors at the Pop Up Globe last year which was a wonderful experience and I loved The Play That Goes Wrong, it was hilarious. I’ve been to a couple of the Rangitoto College Dance Showcases and was blown away by the performers and choreography.  I also love going to concerts and recently saw Hozier when he was in NZ.

Helena with Hozier, and her daughter Tash.

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