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 info@pumphouse.co.nz 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 info@pumphouse.co.nz

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.

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 meg@pumphouse.co.nz

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 info@pumphouse.co.nz

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 info@pumphouse.co.nz

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 james@pumphouse.co.nz to discuss.

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