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?


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.

A Day In The Life Of Our PumpHouse Staff – Mags Delaney

Mags is our incredibly warm, welcoming Community Engagement Coordinator. If you have ever come across Mags at The PumpHouse, you’ll know she’s a bit of a ‘Jill of all trades’ – not only is she outstanding at her Community Engagement role, she is also a brilliant stage manager, director, and counselor.

Get to know more about Mags below!

Tell us five random facts about yourself:

I would love to work with David Tenant and Benedict Cumberbatch

I love mint choc chip ice cream

I’m a Shakespeareaholic

I’m a vegetarian

I am seriously addicted to penguins and Tigger!

How did you come to work at The PumpHouse Theatre?

I first came to The PumpHouse as the props person for Shakespeare in the Park in 2009 and have staged managed numerous shows since before I started working in the box office 5 years ago when I went back to university. Since then I’ve also worked as a duty manager for one day hirers, as an usher, tour guide and as a tutor for the PumpHouse School Holiday and After School Programmes and since last September as the Community Engagement Coordinator.

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

My studies have been completely unrelated to theatre 😂 – I have a bachelor’s degree in Education, a post – graduate diploma in Educational Psychology and a professional diploma in counselling!

I suppose having developed skills to work with people through my studies has helped me in my roles here in the theatre.

When did you start getting involved in the performing arts?

I was a musician at school – played the flugelhorn in the school brass band and sang in the choir. I played in a band at uni (the first time round) But in my first teaching job I was given the task of putting together the school production and I became hooked on drama and direction (there was no way as a child I would have performed as an actor!) – I then got involved behind the scenes at my local Little Theatre in the UK mostly with stage managing.

What do you like about working here?

The view! 😆

I do like meeting all the different people who come here whether to perform or to be our audience and helping make their experience at The PumpHouse memorable and enjoyable.

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

As Community Engagement person the coolest thing so far has been being interviewed by Josh Thomson for The Project TV programme about our ghost in residence Peg (Peg Escott) – on box office it was meeting Karl Urban (twice!)

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

The alarm goes off at 6am – so any time after that 😆

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

That I’m a bit of a Jill of all trades experience wise in theatre but have no formal training – I’ve learned it all on the job! But I can pretty much turn my hand to most things – apart from rigging! (I don’t like heights)

What do you get up to after hours?

In life outside of theatre (yes there is one!) I’m a big fan of Wigan Warriors Rugby League team (my hometown team) I listen to the games over the internet. I read crime novels and do stabbing!!! (needle felt crafting)

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

I eat lunch usually (which is a big thing cos when I was a teacher, I rarely got a lunch break) and catch up on Facebook gossip about Wigan Warriors or David Tennant or Benedict Cumberbatch!

What’s your all-time favourite show?

That I’ve directed up to now – Comedy of Errors.

That I’ve stage managed – The Tempest

That I’ve seen – it’s a tie between Mama Mia and Priscilla Queen of The Desert – I just love the soundtracks of both!

Celebrating Pink Shirt Day

The team had a Pink Shirt Day morning tea last Friday 17th of May.

We were honored to join the movement to stop bullying and spread aroha & kindness!

Celebrated annually around the globe, Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying after a peer was bullied for wearing a pink shirt.

Here at The PumpHouse, we believe in creating an environment where all people feel safe, valued and respected.

Happy Birthday Roger Hall!

Tadpole Theatre Productions are celebrating Roger Hall turning 80 this year by staging his classic comedy.

Middle Age Spread will be showing for a limited season at The PumpHouse Theatre in Takapuna from the 9th – 19th May.

Tadpole Productions invite you to transport yourself back to New Zealand in the late 1970s– big hair, bell bottom trousers, carless days – and cheese fondue the dish du jour….. Roger Hall took the foibles of the era and created his classic comedy Middle Age Spread, exposing the insecurities of three couples who meet for a dinner party none of them really want to attend. As the evening progresses and the mid-life crises are exposed, it is either a journey down memory lane, or an entertaining history lesson for the social media set of 2019. And the same personal stories of thwarted ambition and broken hearts could just as easily be unfolding on Facebook, or on any suburban street today.

Directors Janice Finn and Louise Wallace have assembled a talented cast who bring you into their lives and present a mirror to the audience, showcasing the reality of friends and marriages we all know, an examination of the clash between the marriage institution and human frailty. The questions raised about respect, loyalty and commitment are still very relevant – a comedy with a quiet psycho-drama sub-plot that rattles emotions and principles.

The roles of the six reluctant guests are played by Anna Baird, Lisa Chappell, Barry de Lore, Scott Harding, Jane Hawkins and Benjamin Murray.

Return to the ‘good old days’ for a night of hilarity, nostalgia – and a few home truths!

For more information click here or cool the PumpHouse on (09) 489-8360.

Meet the Cast and Crew of Sylvia

Felix Creative Theatre is a leading Chinese community theatrical group led by professional director Fei Li and fellow actors, supported by like-minded theatre enthusiasts. The group’s vision is to provide a range of performance opportunities for the community, from amateurs to professionals, to be involved in some of the most unique, exciting and creative theatrical productions.

Since 2015, Felix Creative Theatre group have produced 5 original productions and received a tremendous amount of positive reviews from local communities. Their productions reached a wide range of audiences and one of their original work “Flatting Era” was brought to China and won the ‘Best Performance Award’ in Guangzhou at the Amateur Theatre Art Festival.

Sylvia is their 6th production and first English play.  All crew in this play speak English as their second language but it does not stop them from embracing this classic Broadway comedy.  With diverse backgrounds, it is also a great opportunity for them to explore this play by adding their own perspectives to Sylvia as well as reaching a wider audience.

Director:Fei Li

Fei Li has written and directed several plays in Mandarin including “Lost in Shanghai”, “Intruder”, “FlattingEra” and “Murderon Changde Road”.

Fei Li is an accomplished Director, playwright and professional actor. After nearly 10 years experience working as a TV host and actor on screen productions in China, he went back to The Central Academy Of Drama to further his performance study where he realized that acting on stage in theatre is his passion, his love. After graduating, he worked in Fujian Peoples Art Theatre for another 9 years as a full time leading actor with over 2000 performances in his career and winning multiple awards as an Actor.  In 2015, Fei decided to move to Auckland, New Zealand.

Settling in this new country, Fei is now focusing more on Directing and coaching in acting and performance. He is humbled to have met many theatre enthusiasts along the way and he loves to share his skills and experience with people and helping them realize their dreams on stage.

Bingci Xuan – Casting Sylvia

Bingci is well known as ‘Grace’ in the Chinese community. She is a professional Hip-pop dancer and is the founder of Movementum Dance Studio and Acecrew dance group. After she saw the play “Lost in Shanghai” by Felix Creative Theatre she decided to join in and give “Sylvia” a go. This is her first time acting in a play.

Yuan Fang – Casting Greg (“the husband”)

Yuanfang is a student who is currently studying in Media at the University in Auckland. He has always been interested in acting but have never been on stage before. At the beginning, Andy found ‘Greg’ to be a rather challenging character to play as Andy is very young himself and have little experience in married life.

“Well, that’s what we learned – to live another life on the stage… and now I even feel more confused about life after months of rehearsing and I feel older…I guess I am older…?” – Yuan Fang

Coco Cui – casting Kate

Coco is Marketing and Event Coordinator of Felix Creative Theatre. She is also an online fiction writer, a gym enthusiast and definitely a workaholic… she is a creative thinker and a doer. Anything and everything she wants to do, she just do it. Wasting time is never an option for her. Sylvia is her first time on stage as well.

Louise Yeung-casting Leslie

Louise, a.k.a “Lulu” (as ‘Louise’ seems to be too hard to spell for many), is a singer, musician, and majored in Psychology at University, which is not a planned co-incidence at all playing Leslie. She was also in the play “Lost in Shanghai” as a guest with two lines, now this time, she has many, many lines…

Xiangru Feng — casting Tom

Xiangru joined Felix Creative Theatre in 2018, he is also attended drama classes by Fei Li.  As the youngest actor in the crew, he just started his first year in University. His character ‘Tom’ is quite the opposite character to his real self in real life, just wait and see…

Phyllis will be played by two different actress in two shows:

Xipan Huang — casting Phyllis (Friday show)

Xipan was loved by a lot of audience in “Lost in Shanghai”, she was one of the ‘Mahjong girl’, yes…

“My English accent is my biggest challenge, I still practice over and over again on some sentences and words, our team gave me the biggest support and now I’m so looking forward to our premier.”–Xipan

Shangrong Feng — casting Phyllis (Saturday show)

So… why were two actresses casted for ‘Phyllis’? Phyllis was originally played by Xipan but as circumstances change, Xipan was going to Wellington to study, hence, we found Shangrong as Xipan’s replacement and she accepted the role as “Phyllis”.

Sylvia was initially scheduled to be performed in November 2018, however, as the crew felt that they have not reached a level that they are proud of showcasing “Sylvia” and doing it justice, we postponed the show and rehearsed for another 3 months.

Now, we are ready to bring you: our version of Sylvia!

Fri, 3rd – Sat, 4th May at 7pm. Click here for more details and to book.

Felix Creative Theatre – Behind-the-Scenes Video

Ever wondered what it would be like to be involved in a production at The PumpHouse Theatre? Felix Creative Theatre have created a wonderful video, showing us around their pack-in day, rehearsals and performances.

Their next production will by ‘Sylvia’, a classic Broadway comedy by A. R. Gurney.

This Play has been selected by Felix Creative Theatre as their first full English production (all casts speak English as their second language). Come and enjoy this smart, silly, bold, and occasionally salty comedy about relationships, nature, and growing older.

Fri 3rd – Sat 4th May at 7:00pm
For more information, click here.

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