Nyree Dawn Porter's achievements on stage and screen are set to be highlighted further with a proposal to rename Napier's Municipal Theatre dress circle the "Nyree Dawn Porter Circle".

Born and raised in Napier, Porter, who died in London in 2001, was a celebrated actress, singer, and dancer, who performed in numerous West End shows, as well as film and television appearances abroad.

Currently the subject of a popular exhibition at the MTG Hawke's Bay, she was said to have inspired her ballet students as a teenager in the 1950s by painting graceful dancers directly on to the living room walls of her family's Napier home, where she held lessons.

She went on to win a Miss Cinema competition, and headed to London for a screen test.


After making her mark on the UK theatre scene, she became a television star in the BBC production of , watched by millions around the world.

Later in her career, Porter received an OBE for services to television and film, and featured on an English episode of episode.

She continued performing right up until her unexpected death in 2001, at the age of 61.

This week the Napier City Council's community services committee will consider a proposal designed to increase her profile locally with the renaming of the dress circle, as well as the possibility of installing information boards at the theatre and other initiatives subject to funding opportunities.

In a report to the committee it was noted that this could include changing the pedestrian crossing lights at the Tennyson/Dalton Sts intersection to display a custom designed outline of Ms Porter in both standing and dancing position.

This would be similar to the Sheila Williams and her dog pedestrian crossing lights at the Emerson/Hastings Sts intersection, and a small sign would provide the public with additional information about who the 'lady in the lights' was.

"Any proposal put forward would need to be commensurate to the mana and achievements of Ms Porter, and would need to be relevant and appropriate to her achievements in theatre and entertainment," the report said.

"Ms Porter performed on the stage of the Municipal Theatre as she was developing her theatrical talents. The dress circle is considered the most spectacular place in which to be seated for a performance, commanding the best views over the theatre and stage."

The committee would consider the matter at a meeting tomorrow. The MTG Hawke's Bay exhibition was scheduled to continue until January next year.