A play without a stage
ANT Towler is hoping the fire which ripped through the Auckland University’s Maidment Theatre won’t be the final curtain call for his debut play before it has even opened as he looks for another venue to stage the show.
The playwright’s show Defensability was due to open yesterday but a fire at the theatre also caused damage to the building’s Musgrove Studio, which was to hold the play, forcing staff to cancel it.
‘‘The whole lot feels like a bad dream,’’ Mr Towler says.
‘‘We had been told earlier in the day that we would be fine and we let ourselves believe it for a while so it was hard to hear that it had been cancelled.’’
Firefighters brought the blaze under control after it broke out on the afternoon of April 3, the day the Auckland City Harbour News ran a story on Mr Towler’s play.
The fire started when the stage curtain caught alight.
Fire communication staff say it then spread from the curtain, through the stage floor and into the bowels of the theatre.
It also spread into the ceiling space where much of the lighting and electrical equipment for the theatre is housed.
Mr Towler says it is thought the studio’s wiring could have been damaged as well.
Breaking the news to the cast was hard, he says.
‘‘We were all feeling quite hollow about it but everyone’s sort of had a chance to calm down and get a bit of breath now.
‘‘At the time it felt like the end of the world.’’
The play, about a disabled man who aims to steal a Paralympian’s spot on the New Zealand team after the athlete steals his fiancee, took three years to write.
He is looking for some place else to stage the show, including theatres in central Auckland and on the North Shore. Spaces other than traditional theatres that could house the show are also being considered, he says.
‘‘It’s just a matter of waiting and seeing.
‘‘It’s a big challenge but I’m sure we’ll sort something out.’’
Refunds for the show are available. Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Midnight in Moscow was set to open at the Maidment Theatre this Saturday but has been moved to the Aotea Centre and will now start its run on April 15.
Information about the future of Mr Towler’s play will be posted on Facebook.
Visit tinyurl.com/Defensability for updates.
Bad dream: Fire has damaged the University of Auckland’s Maidment Theatre and the Musgrove Studio, which was to host Ant Towler’s debut play Defensability. The fire broke out on April 3, the same day the Auckland City Harbour News published an article about Mr Towler.