A play with­out a stage

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

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.

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