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

How The PumpHouse is Operating at Level 2

We have had a few calls and emails over the last few days about how we are operating and hosting shows at alert level 2.5.

Because we are a “controlled access business” (like cinemas and conference venues), the latest Covid-19 Health Order states that we can have up to 100 patrons in our venue, with 1m spacing between each group/bubble of up to 10 people.

This means each booking is separated by the next by at least one empty row, and two empty seats. This allows us to seat roughly 70 people.

We’re closely following guidance from the Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand, and advice on the Government Covid-19 website.

We have put much time and effort into creating an environment where people are socially distanced from other groups, from the time they arrive to the time they leave.

Keeping Safe When You Are Here

We’ve put a lot of thought into how we can keep people safe when they visit. Check out a summary of what we are doing below.

More Information

Covid-19 Health Order

Official Covid-19 Website

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 09 486 2386 or email if you have any questions.

Covid-19: August 2020 Edition

Last updated: MOnday 2 September, 2020
In line with Covid-19 Level 3 guidelines we are closed until at least 26th August.
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. 
  • Twelfth Night (Albany Senior High School): all shows POSTPONED; We are contacting ticketing holders to transfers/refund tickets
  • A Time to Laugh (P.Form): performance POSTPONED to 26 October 2020.  We’ll contact ticket holders to arrange refunds/transfers
  • PumpHouse Theatre AGM: POSTPONED, new date to be confirmed
  • North Shore Performing Arts Senior Vocal Competition & Becroft Aria Final: Fri 21 Aug – Sun 23 Aug:  All events CANCELLED.
  • Mahua Fun Age: All events CANCELLED, refunds to be issued
  • Creative Talk with Tanya M Wheeler: POSTPONED to December 2020
  • The Vagina Monologues:  POSTPONED to December 2020We’ll contact ticket holders to arrange refunds/transfers
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (Rosmini College): All shows CANCELLED; refunds to be issued
  • Express Yourself (Altitude Pole): POSTPONED to 25 October 2020
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! 🎭

Meet Our Venue Support Team, Siobhan & Chris!

We are lucky to have two amazing people to help keep The PumpHouse running smoothly. Siobhan is our wonderful tech support, and Chris is a fantastic help with venue maintenance. Have a read below to find out more about them!

What are five facts about you?


  1. I want to dye my hair every colour of the rainbow.
  2. I worked backstage at an Ed Sheeran concert.
  3. I have broken my arms 6 times.
  4. Growing up I have always had at least 2 cats.
  5. I lived in Dunedin for 2 years.


  1. I have ADHD.
  2. My accent changes mid-conversation.
  3. I own a lot of rings.
  4. When I was 11 I chipped my two front teeth after falling off a BMX bike.
  5. I’m very bad at taking breaks from work.

How did you come to work at The PumpHouse?

Siobhan: I worked as a lighting operator during this year’s Shakespeare in the Park. During this, James asked if I could help fix some tech problems and the PumpHouse just kinda adopted me.

Chris: I was cast as the lead for the Auckland Shakespeare in the Park 2020 season, and one day James asked if I would like some work and I’ve been working here since.

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

Siobhan: I first studied a BSc majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology but during my second year, I realised that I was skipping lectures to do tech work so I decided to switch courses to study Theatre Technology full-time which means I get to study what I enjoy doing and apply those skills at work.

Chris: I only finished High School in 2019 so I haven’t studied yet, but I suppose watching my dad use tools as a kid made things pretty easy.

When did you start getting involved in the performing arts?

Siobhan: I first got involved with theatre when I was 4 years old as a part of a drama school before moving to the technical side during high school.

Chris: I come from a family of musicians and have played a few instruments but it was never what I enjoyed most. Naturally, I drifted towards theatre as it is such a unique way of entertaining an audience, and I’m a bit of a drama queen!

What do you like about working here?

Siobhan: I think that the best thing about working at the PumpHouse is the people.

Chris: The people are well-rounded, understanding and I never have a dull conversation. Something about working in a theatre is just fun.

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

Siobhan: I got to redesign the tech system for the Coal Bunker Studio.

Chris: Not cool… but you’d be surprised how hard it is to attach a pool noodle to wood…

What time do you wake up?

Siobhan: I normally try to wake up at least 2-3 hours before I have to be at work so I have enough time to wake up and get ready before driving over.

Chris: When I have work, 7 am so I can get here around 9 am… Other days, very inconsistent!

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

Siobhan: I like to blast songs from musicals through the speaker system while I work.

Chris: I come up with a plan to claim a section in the Coal Bunker to put my belongings in before the next show I’m in.

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

Siobhan: I like to listen to music and do some online window shopping.

Chris: I just sit and listen to music, or talk to my coworkers. That is if I remember to take a break.

What do you get up to after hours?

Siobhan: After hours I like to make things, catch up on Netflix, and play Sims 4 or Animal Crossing.

Chris: Eat, go out, play sport, binge Netflix.

What is your favourite show?

Siobhan: It’s a tie between Wicked and Heathers.

Chris: Maybe not theatre but watching Dust Palace perform with an orchestra accompanying.


It is an unusual thing in our theatre to not have any shows or events brightening up the space, but after nearly six months of cancellations due to Covid-19, we have been grateful to have the time to do some much-needed maintenance in our theatre, and we now have a brand-spankin’ new aircon/heating system installed in the Genevieve Becroft Auditorium, and a revamped backstage bathroom, all thanks to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and Auckland Council.

The advanced-technology aircon/heating system allows us to now set a comfortable temperature which automatically adjusts itself when it gets cooler or warmer, meaning a more enjoyable audience experience!


Earlier this year, we noticed that the floorboards around the backstage toilets were feeling quite soft and damp, so we cordoned the area off to get it checked, and the floorboards were in fact rotting away! Heritage buildings can be a funny thing sometimes… So this prompted The Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and Auckland Council to revamp that area. Not only do we now have new sturdy flooring, but we also have fancy new benches, toilets and mirrors, plus some new beautiful carpeting, a splash of paint to brighten things up, AND a new accessway which leads up to the toilets/dressing room/mezzanine. This means that when our Coal Bunker Studio is in use, we can still access these areas with ease.

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