Theatre groups left gutted
‘‘Every shred of fabric in there, all of us can look at them and say, ‘Oh that was from . . . and that was from . . .’,’’ said Rose Hudson while inspecting the remains of costumes following a fire at Tawa Community Theatre’s drama hut.
The suspicious blaze at the Kowhai Rd building, behind the Scout hall in Tawa, occurred about 8pm on February 12.
In years gone by the hut was used for theatre productions and children’s theatre training, but more recently for storing old props, sets and costumes – an archive of the theatre’s past.
Mrs Hudson said the property from four different drama groups in the region was stored there and all have lost out.
‘‘There are a lot of irreplaceable WWI uniforms that we used for Dad’s Army, white trousers and tuxedo tails, there were a lot of things that meant a great deal to all of us.
‘‘ We remember each piece of clothing but now we’re reliving all our old shows in the ashes. All those memories have gone up in smoke.’’
Fellow actor Ross Pedder said all the costumes were useless now.
‘‘ If they’re not burnt they’re smoke damaged. They were things people had made, people had given us and things we’d scrummaged around to get. It’s taken years and years to build it up.’’
He said the building had always been targeted by taggers but Wellington City Council had been ‘‘brilliant’’ in maintaining the premises.
So what now for Tawa Community Theatre, which goes back 40 years?
‘‘We’ll do what all community theatres do which is keep on going. The show must go on, so we’ll pick ourselves up, clean it all out and start again,’’ said Mr Pedder.
Porirua’s Detective Sergeant, Shane Rongonui, said a number of young people were seen hanging around the building on the same evening as the fire.
‘‘We’re interested in hearing from anyone who was in the area at the time and may have seen these young people or has information.’’
Phone Porirua Police on 238 1400.
Out of the ashes: Almost half the Tawa Community Theatre’s drama hut was burned on February 12 leaving about 20 years’ worth of costumes in ashes. Long-time members, from left, Ross Pedder, Basil Malan, Janice Pritchard and Rose Hudson, were at the scene last week.