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.

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