Dannevirke: Top show its own reward

By Christine McKay

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One Night in Bangkok, a popular scene from the Dannevirke Theatre Company's recent production of Chess the Musical in the Town Hall.
One Night in Bangkok, a popular scene from the Dannevirke Theatre Company's recent production of Chess the Musical in the Town Hall.

People don't appreciate the toll a production such as Chess takes on cast, crew and the production team, but delivering a top class show is the reward.

"It's great for a small town like Dannevirke to be able to stage a major production like Chess, but it's a huge drain on your time," Nathan Davis, who had the starring role as Frederick Trumper, said.

This was just Davis' second Dannevirke Theatre Company production - last year he starred as Horton the elephant in Seussical.

Although this was the first major theatre company production in the Town Hall for a number of years which used a live orchestra, rather than a backing track, it won't be the last.

"The orchestra are all asking when are we doing the next show," Melissa Martin, director of Chess, said. "They're really got the bug."

However, people don't realise how all encompassing it is to be part of such a major production, Melissa said.

"Everyone is involved for such a long time, but our cast and crew of 100 were all a very happy company."

Approximately 900 attended the six performances of Chess, which was very much a shared success for all involved.

But with no seed funding from a major sponsor this year, if the theatre company makes a small profit from Chess, it will be a minor miracle, Melissa said.

"For a show such as this which is notorious for losing money, we've done so well producing Chess without a major sponsor. But the theatre company could not afford to pay for the rights to the show, so our patron Gwen Fairbrother made a donation to enable us to buy them. If it wasn't for her the show would not have got off the ground. I'm delighted we put on a show which the theatre company and our town can be proud of."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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