The Latest News From The PumpHouse Theatre - Takapuna, Auckland

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.

Welcome Rhiannon! Our New Venue Operations Coordinator ❤

The newest member to our PumpHouse whānau, Rhiannon, has already started to add a beautiful aesthetic to the theatre – whether it be her well put together outfits, or the addition of gorgeous plants being dotted around the theatre. Rhiannon takes on the important role of Venue Operations Coordinator, after already being a valued casual employee of The PumpHouse for a few years.

So, next time you’re at the theatre, give a warm welcome to Rhiannon! And until then, have a read below to learn more about her.

What are five random facts about you?

  • I have never learnt how to swim. Or float, for that matter! 
  • I am basically a carpenter. What I mean is, I once constructed a gate. 
  • I can say impolite things in Swedish. 
  • I have missed out on the right of passage of visiting Rainbow’s End. 
  • I am not competitive. Unless an auction is involved. In which case, I am in to win.

 How did you come to work at The PumpHouse Theatre?

I lingered around The PumpHouse for long enough, sought a gap in the shutters, now here I am. 

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

I went to film school, then art school, dabbled in horticulture… with this mixed knowledge I could be either totally equipped or completely irrelevant. 

When did you start getting involved in the performing arts?

I did take drama classes at and after high school but then glided into other things before joining some local theatre groups when I moved back to the Shore after living elsewhere. I started out in Front of House before moving into Stage Management and then back to acting – a circle of sorts. 

What do you like about working here?

The brick aesthetic. The people are a lot of fun, too. 

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

I really enjoy operating a drill so anytime I can wield that is a great moment for me. 

What time do you wake up in the mornings?

I wake up whatever time allows me to have a leisurely breakfast so that I can awaken my brain and not rush. This is often an optimistic notion. 

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

Whisper sweet nothings to the indoor greenery.

What do you get up to after hours?

After hours I pretend that I am a painter, attempt to get through my expanding pile of library books, and meditate on bananas to ripen up so that I can bake banana bread. 

What do you get up to on your lunch breaks?

Catch rays or raindrops. Or get distracted by my Trade Me Watchlist. 

What’s your all-time favourite show?

Tricky! Perhaps 1984.

Top Tips From The PumpHouse Whānau

It’s fair to say that the past few months have been a trying time for most of us, and everyone has coped in different ways. We thought we would share the ways that our team have coped, and any tips they have for adapting to the “new normal” we are facing.

The PumpHouse Team – James, Mags, Meg, Helena & Rhiannon

How did you cope with lock down?

James: I got up every day and made my bed – I made sure I stuck to a routine. I rediscovered the fun of home-cooking, as I had more time and energy to cook for myself. Also – don’t tell anyone, but I got quite addicted to the reality TV show 90 Day Fiancé!

Mags: Making sure I got up early and worked, having a routine made sure that I kept some normality. Remembering to do simple things like eat and drink were also very important. I did a lot of crafts to keep myself entertained – knitting, embroidering, drawing cats, felt stabbing and code crackers. I also made the most of Netflix and the live theatre that a lot of prominent companies were releasing online. I loved having the opportunity to film the Creative Talks Online from the safety of my bubble!

Meg: I am not really a homebody – I get my energy from being out of the house. So I went for very, very long walks when I needed to feel rejuvenated. Having work to do also kept me (slightly) sane, especially editing the Monologue Collab’s. I did a lot of things that I enjoy like yoga and belly dancing, but I also found myself enjoying things that I don’t usually like – cooking, drawing, and properly relaxing. Staying with my Mum was an absolute treat.

Helena: Routine got me through – working from home helped. Also making sure we still acknowledged weekends. I did a lot of exercise by watching online workout videos or walking the dog. Netflix helped too. We’re taking it slowly in level 2, only venturing out when we need to as hubby has health issues. It’s great to be back at work.

Rhiannon: I mostly distracted myself by doing a lot of things I have been intending on doing, like reading those books I have been meaning to read, and finishing paintings that I have been meaning to finish. I filled my day with lengthy activities like long walks. I kind of saw this period as a cultural sabbatical!

What is your top tip for coping and adapting to the “new normal” we are facing?

James: Keep washing your hands!

Mags: Be kind to yourself. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing – you’ve got to look after number one (you!)

Meg: Respect people’s boundaries and make yours known. Everyone copes in very different ways – knowing this and empathising with this will make everything a little easier!

Helena: Don’t push yourself too much, small steps to start with.

Rhiannon: Keep things simple. Continue to be mindful of what’s going on around you. Simplicity is divine.

If you’d like to check out more top tips from our creative community – check out our Creative Talks Online

Keeping Creative with The PumpHouse Theatre

Kia ora to our wonderful PumpHouse whānau,

We hope you are all well and happy in your bubbles during this time! Obviously, our building is closed until we get given the go ahead to reopen, however our team is still hard at work at home!

This blog post will cover a few points – including how we can help and support our fellow creatives, venue hire and show cancellations. Have a read below to find out more.

How We Are Staying Creative

It has been quite heartbreaking to have cancelled so many shows that were to be put on at our theatre. But we are trying to find the positives in this current situation, and one thing that is binding the world together at the moment is social media.

So, the idea sprung to life to create The PumpHouse Theatre Monologue Collaboration Series! The idea is that members of our theatre community, from beginners right through to experienced professional actors, get given one part of a monologue to prepare and film. They are given complete creative freedom on how to perform their part. We then edit it together, and have a group of people all from their own bubbles collaborating on a monologue together.

People have loved taking part in these, with many saying how it has been refreshing for them to have something creative to work on. Give us a follow on Facebook to see the videos, with more to come!

If you’d like to take part in these collaborations, email Meg at

Check out our Monologue Collaboration’s –

The Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare.

Lady Macbeth’s Sleepwalking Scene by William Shakespeare.

Greedy Cat

Due to the level 4 lockdown, sadly the season of Greedy Cat by Tim Bray Theatre Company has had to be cancelled. We have been in touch with ticket holders to organise refunds, however if you had tickets to see Greedy Cat and haven’t had any contact from us, please get in touch by emailing

How We Can Support You

We are still here to mentor and nurture our creative community. We would be more than happy to set up conversations over zoom, where we can offer our advice and support. Feel free to get in touch if this is something you would like – email

Venue Hire

There are opportunities to hire The PumpHouse Theatre once it is safe for us to reopen. If you have any shows, events or ideas you’d like to put on at our theatre, get in touch with James by emailing to discuss.

Covid-19 – What we are doing about it at The PumpHouse Theatre

LAST UPDATED: Wednesday 3 June 2020 9:30 am

Latest News

Following Government guidance The PumpHouse is reopen at Level 2 with Health and Safety requirements in place. Watch our video to see how we are keeping things safe for your visit to The PumpHouse Theatre.

Follow our online creative endeavours

Perform at The PumpHouse

We have spaces in the calendar up until October.  If you’d like to discuss options for performing at The PumpHouse please email James Bell on or phone 021 637 687

Status of upcoming shows & events at The PumpHouse Theatre:

  • Shakespeare’s Will – Cancelled
  • Black Grace – Verses – Cancelled
  • Greedy Cat (Education and Public Seasons) – Cancelled
  • Creative Talk with Tanya M. Wheeler – Cancelled
  • Creative Talk with Roman Rudnytsky – Cancelled
  • Shirley Valentine – Postponed to May 2021
  • Creative Talk with Anne Rimmer – To Be Confirmed – please RSVP
  • The Magic Faraway Tree – Cancelled

Staying Safe

What we are doing for you:

  • We are disinfecting the entire theatre and all surfaces, including Front of House, backstage, theatre seats and seat arms, all in addition to our regular cleaning cycles after each performance
  • We are reminding our staff and hirers (including performers and backstage crew) about safe and hygienic event practices.

What we expect and hope for from you:

  • If you are feeling unwell, please return home and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines.
  • If you have been overseas OR in contact with anyone who has been overseas in the last 14 days, please return home.
  • Please practise social distancing and abandon traditional hand, hugging and kissing greetings.
  • Please take note of the Ministry of Health Covid-19 prevention reminder posters throughout The PumpHouse Theatre.
  • We will be checking that each person entering our theatre is well and of good health. Please don’t be offended if we ask you to leave.
  • To avoid any unnecessary contact, we will be going cashless at the box office, so please ensure you book tickets online or have your Eftpos card ready to go.

If you are concerned or have questions please don’t hesitate to email us at

Ngā mihi nui.

Wash your hands as vigorously as Lady Macbeth

Introducing The Creative Talks Programme 2020

Internationally renowned concert pianist Roman Rudnytsky and Game of Thrones costume designer Chantelle Gerrard feature alongside talented locals in The PumpHouse Theatre’s free Creative Talks series in 2020.

Castor Bay based theatre stalwart Anne Rimmer will be speaking about her life-long love of the theatre during her talk in May. North Shore based writer Tanya M Wheeler, paranormal researcher Mark Wallbank, documentary filmmaker Alex Gilbert, musician and composer Daniel Habedank and Auckland Libraries Archivist Kirsty Webb also form part of the line-up.

Our wonderful Community Engagement Coordinator, Mags Delaney runs the Creative Talks Programme. We sat down for a chat with her about this years line-up and more…

What does the Creative Talks programme mean to you?

Mags: The Creative Talk programme is a great opportunity for members of The Pumphouse Community to engage with people who work in or are inspired by The Arts in an informal setting with an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the person as well as their passion.

What excites you about this years line-up?

Mags: The wide variety of speakers all bringing very different stories to share from backstage to on screen experiences, classical and original music, and even a dip into history.

How do you find people for the Creative Talks?

Mags: In my community engagement role I have the opportunity to meet lots of people who either have an interesting story to share or who know someone else who does! There are lots of stories out there which I am keen to tap into – the Creative Talks series is a perfect medium for speakers to come and engage either through a presentation, performance or even being interviewed. I’m already on the lookout for speakers for next year’s programme.

Why should people come to a Creative Talk and what should they expect?

Mags: Basically, it’s an opportunity to hear from the creative people who live and work in our community about what inspires them in their work. Each speaker has their own style – some invite questions, some come with presentations, some come to have a ‘conversation’ either with me or the audience. It’s an hour long, early evening, free event which we at The PumpHouse feel is important to offer to our community as a way of engaging with the arts.

How long have the Creative Talks been running for and how have they evolved over time?

Mags: The Creative Talks have been around in one form or another for a number of years but only formally took the name last year when I took over the role of organising them. They were once known as The Friday Forum and were originally events just for Friends of the PumpHouse members – now anyone can attend! Just remember to RSVP beforehand as seats are limited. This year we have 8 Creative Talks already planned but there may be a couple of ‘specials’ popping up too. Keep an eye on The PumpHouse Website!

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. There are limited spaces available, so visit our Creative Talks page to RSVP your spot at one of our talks now!

Creative Talk 2020 Programme

Make sure you pick up a Creative Talks 2020 flyer when you’re next at the theatre!

School Holiday Drama Programme Fun!

Over the past three weeks, our theatre has been buzzing with young budding actors taking part in our School Holiday Drama Programme run by The PumpHouse Theatre’s resident drama teacher, Mags Delaney.

Week one saw these young talents explore the world of Shakespeare, discovering the beauty in his language – from the Bard’s many ruthless insults to his charming one-liners. Each day ended in a performance in front of family and friends, to show what they had learnt from Mags’ extensive knowledge.

In week two, children from 7-11 years had the opportunity to take part in Under The Big Top – a circus themed drama programme, where they learnt aspects of improvisation, character development, voice projection, prop making and performance.

To end this 3-week extravaganza of theatre goodness, Mags taught Shakespeare – The Next Step, for young Shakespeareaholics who have previously taken part in her beginner Shakespeare programme.

Speaking of her wonderful Drama Programmes, Mags said, “I love to see the students become more confident in themselves as well as performers. When they start to get to grips with understanding what Shakespeare is about that’s so satisfying. Drama is a wonderful way to discover yourself and the world you belong to.”

Christmas Carols in the Amphitheatre

A very entertaining evening was had by all at our sold-out Christmas Carols in the Amphitheatre last Sunday 15th of December.

We were once again joined by Harbour Voices (formally North Shore Chorale) led by Nicholas Forbes, and The PumpHouse Community Choir with their musical maestro Daniel Habdebank, who delighted us with some classic Christmas carols which everyone had a fun singalong with.

Meg the Elf MC’d the evening and danced the night away with some of the little ones in the audience.
Check out some photos below of the fun, festive evening taken by photographer Taku Yamaguchi.

Our Christmas Carols always sell out fast, so keep an eye out on our Facebook page next year for when ticket sales go live! (Usually the beginning of November).

See you next year, Meri Kirihimete!

Gifting Tree for De Paul House

De Paul House in Northcote are looking after over 200 homeless children this Christmas, so we’ve teamed up with Tim Bray Theatre Company to help make their Christmas a bit happier.

The beautiful gifting tree in our foyer for the season of The Santa Claus Show is decorated with angel tags. You can donate a gift and select a tag for a child who might like it.

Just select a tag and leave it under the tree with your unwrapped gift (De Paul House will wrap the gifts). If you need a hand, ask one of our friendly front of house team for help.

Later this week we’ll be delivering the gifts just in time for Christmas, so please drop in before Friday morning.

What a thoughtful and beautiful way to celebrate the season of giving!

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