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.

Creative Talks at The PumpHouse Theatre

Devonport author Tessa Duder, OBE and award-winning playwright Gary Henderson are two of the guest speakers featuring in The PumpHouse Theatre’s Creative Talk programme for 2019.

Creative Talks are a series of informal monthly talks hosted by The PumpHouse which bring the community together with local creatives to find out more about the person behind the work and what inspires them.

“The opportunity to meet with and hear from people immersed in the creative process is hugely inspiring,” says the programme’s coordinator Mags Delaney.  “I’d encourage anyone with an interest in the arts to come along.”

Eight talks over the year explore multicultural arts to theatrical performance, by way of actors, authors, poets and playwrights.  They are hosted in smaller spaces at The PumpHouse in the early evening and entry is free.

Performance poet Rose Northey, I-start Chinese Theatre founder Yabing Liu and local actor and playwright Geoff Clendon are all part of the line-up, alongside opportunities to be involved in discussion after the show with the cast and crew of Tadpole Productions and Shoreside Theatre during their performance seasons in May and July respectively.

For more our next Creative Talk by Rose Northey, click here.

Next Speaker: Rose Northey, Spoken Word Poet

Creative Talks are made possible by funding from the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board to support The PumpHouse Theatre’s work in the community.

Full details of each talk are available on the PumpHouse website at:

Talk Schedule

April 26 – Rose Northey, Performance Poet

May 12 – Tadpole Productions – after show discussion

June 26 – Tessa Duder OBE, Distinguished NZ Author

July TBC – Shoreside Theatre – after show discussion

August 23 – Gary Henderson NZ Playwright and Director

September 27 – Yabing Liu , Founder of I-Start Chinese Theatre

October 11 – Geoff Clendon, Local playwright and actor – as part of Auckland Heritage Festival.

The Cast and Crew of ‘The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate’

Get to know the cast and crew of ‘The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate’ with Tim Bray Theatre Company.

First up, we have the all-important man who opens the show… Say a huge ahoy to Sea Captain, Adam Burrell!

Adam has been a professional Actor/Singer and Live Entertainer in Auckland and NZ for over 15 years. He has participated in 15 professional children’s theatre productions, including 2 Nationwide Tours with Capital E, NZ’s national theatre for children.

“The sea is a wonderful thing. So wonderful we make it our home. We live on the sea and what a Jolly Roger sort of life it is too.” Margaret Mahy.

One of Adam’s many hobbies include looking after all his dogs and his favourite kids book is Roald Dahl’s ‘The TWITS’.

Next, we have the adventure loving Mother who dreams to be reunited to the sea! Say a huge ahoy to our Pirate Mother… Kat Glass!

Kat is an actor, director, and producer working in the theatre and film industry. 
Born and raised in Auckland, Kat studied theatre at the University of Auckland, graduating in 2011.

Kat has two favourite kids books which are Hairy McLeary and The Paper Bag Princess. Kat also lives in Auckland with her husband and seven cats!

I want to see the sea again. I want to fire my old silver pistol, and see the waves jump with surprise.”

Next up we have the very wise and deep thinking philosopher – as well as many other hilarious characters! “WAVE YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR LIKE YOU JUST DON’T CARE” for… Carolyn Lamonde!

Carolyn was born and raised in the very artistic and cultural city of Montreal, Canada. She studied Theatre and worked on stage, in television and in film in Canada, and has performed in Theatre Festivals in Canada, Mexico, Germany and New Zealand.

Carolyn’ favourite book is ‘Le Petit Prince’ (The Little Prince) by d’Antonie de Saint-Exupéry and loves travelling and snowboarding!

“Shhhhh! Some of us are trying to think.” – Margaret Mahy, The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate

Ballet, Cabaret, Boogie Pianists and more

In March, we have some spectacular touring shows coming to The PumpHouse. Companies take big risks in leaving their in-built theatre following and branching out to new cities, and so we’re very lucky to have such extraordinary talent arriving right on our doorstep. Come and experience works produced overseas at your local theatre this month.

Alice in Wonderland. Melbourne City Ballet’s Michael Pappalardo (Artistic Director) and Brendan Bradshaw (Artistic Associate) pay homage to the well-known novel by Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland, with this enchanting ballet complimented by one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous scores.

Legendary Divas is a show starring award winning actress and singer Ali Harper and honours the talented, hardworking, courageous and legendary women that inspired us with their music. Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Judy Garland, Doris Day, Barbra Streisand and many more.

88 Pianos I have Known. Winner of 5 music awards, Jan has now sold out concerts throughout Australia, NZ, Europe and the UK. She composes music for film and TV (most recently for My Year with Helen) and performs side by side with the greatest contemporary boogie piano players in the world today.

We also have some inspiring shows by local companies, many of which return just once a year and have packed houses, so don’t miss out!

Carnaval de la Noche is back for 2019! Bringing together a creative concoction of Aotearoa’s rising and established movers and shakers. For one night only, their line-up is jam packed with dance, aerials, burlesque, boylesque, acrobatics, dance & beyond!

“I’mPaired” by Touch Compass flips the perception of impairment on its head, realising the beauty in everyone’s unique talent. This series of new works use a variety of Dance and Theatre genres that celebrates our diverse society. The work is as inspiring as it is experimental as the Company uses Dance, new technologies and collaborates with a diverse range of artists from other mediums to give the audience a sneak peak at the world through the Touch Compass lens.

Lakeside Multicultural Festival. A free event with four hours of dancing, singing and amazing colourful costumes from many ethnic groups living in Auckland. Featuring ethnic groups from Colombia, Chile, Peru, England, France, Spain, Romania, Dalmatian, Middle East, Korea China, Taiwan, Sira-Lanka, Ukraine, Russia and more.

We hope you will be entertained, challenged and inspired.

Auckland Fringe Festival comes to The PumpHouse

The Auckland Fringe Festival is a huge benefit to local artists, venues, production companies and above all, audiences. This festival is so important to our local community, because it gives aspiring artists an opportunity to showcase their work and gives our future production teams the professional experience they need.

The PumpHouse is proud to be an official venue for the Auckland Fringe Festival 2019 and to host five unmissable events. Why are they unmissable? Because these shows offer our audiences something new and different. Plus, they show off the incredible local talent we have here in Auckland.

Embrace the new and attend a Fringe show at The PumpHouse this month!

Oil and Water, Tues 19th February at 7:30pm. This show really encompasses everything that’s great about the Fringe. It’s a variety show; a devised performance of music, theatre, dance, comedy and poetry all centred around the theme of ‘Oil and Water’. Artists will engage with the theme individually in separate sketches to give you a thought-provoking, entertaining experience.

The Significant Stripper, Wed 20th – Thurs 21st February at 9pm. Tessa is an entertainer with a difference. She will be entertaining you with a cheeky stripagram that is a funny sexy, but not sexual, show. She is the only Fatagram in New Zealand and this big bold cheeky woman performs with passion, enjoyment and big laughs.

10 Years a Comedian, 3 in a Skirt, Wed 20th – Thurs 21st February at 7:30pm. Since 2008 Julia has been regularly performing comedy, covering topics as diverse as chicken sashimi & almond milk. In late 2015 she gave up the unequal fight and came out as a transgender woman, then started again with new material to reflect her transgender status. Julia will be performing six comedic acts from her first ten years as a comedian.

Tango Project, ‘Milonga De Cuatro’, Sun 24th February at 1pm and 3pm. This show gets together four independent musicians who were attracted by music from the most talented composers of Argentine Tango.

Lovepuke, Wed 27th Feb – Sat 2nd Mar at 8pm. Lovepuke is a raunchy and intense romp through the triumphs and pitfalls of the dating scene. Written by New Zealand playwright Duncan Sarkies (Scarfies, Flight of the Conchords) in the 90s, this one act play still has interesting things to say about love, sex and relationships.

Also on Sat 23rd February at 7:45pm, don’t miss Dominic Blaazer and the Maximum Philharmonic Orchestra. After a packed house and superb reviews last year, Dominic and his talented 10-piece orchestra return for an evening of tight, melodic and poetic tunes.

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