Whangarei Theatre Company is celebrating discarding 180 mementos of Whangarei history at its 60th jubilee party tonight.
A big refurbishment programme over the past five years has culminated in replacing all the seats in the main auditorium - all of which came from the old Whangarei Town Hall, demolished in the early 1980s.
Nearly all have been sold but anyone still desperate for a memento which has hosted hundreds of Whangarei behinds is still in with a chance. At last count the theatre had two sets of two and one set of four seats left, at a mere $16 each.
The celebration tonight also includes the opening night of the company's final show for 2006, Soundz Of Their Music, a tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein. Mayor Pamela Peters will open the new auditorium before the show.
The party starts after the show with a buffet supper amid a sea of theatre memorabilia. John Squire, one of the earliest members and the man who oversaw construction of the Riverbank Centre in the mid-1980s, will make a speech. He says he won't be preparing copious notes because after performing in well over 100 shows and doing just about every job in amateur theatre from set-building and lighting to singing and front-of-house, he feels the problem will be editing the material rather than finding something to say.
Other members still around who joined in the 1950s are Bert Cook, Wendy Moser, Janet Tayler and Alison Sargent.
The refurbishment has been supported by a $70,000 grant from the ASB Trust which has been spent on an upgraded sound system, the new, comfier seats for the main auditorium, and a stage lift.
? Whangarei Theatre Company, originally called Whangarei Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (affectionately known as WAODS) originated in a bright idea from dressmaker Alice Kildare, who thought Whangarei should have the sort of evening entertainment she had enjoyed in Hawera. She and a friend placed an ad in The Northern Advocate for anyone interested in forming an operatic society. Following a meeting the committee members all contributed 5, a substantial sum in the 1940s. First based in a house in Armstrong Ave, WAODS went on to the Rowing Club rooms on the Hatea River where the pools are now, and then Alexander St. When this was outgrown it was decided to build the current complex in Lower Dent St.
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