New theatre seat for Gary
Lynne Hammond hopes her husband’s name will live on when it is emblazoned on a seat in the new ASB Theatre Marlborough next year.
The Blenheim woman is donating a $3000 seat for her husband, who has a terminal illness.
‘‘He’s living now on borrowed time,’’ she says. ‘‘Doctors said he wouldn’t make it through the winter and he did.
‘‘People will sit in his seat and see his name. It’s a way of saying he was here.’’
The pair have been involved in musical theatre since 1997 or 1998.
Gary Hammond used to work backstage at the theatre, and remembers ‘‘running around with pots and pans’’ when it rained.
While his wife was a performer, he only appeared on stage once at the behest of an enthusiastic director, when he appeared in a pair of overalls carrying wallpaper. ‘‘I didn’t say a word,’’ he says. He had hoped to carry on working there after he retired.
‘‘It was going to become my fulltime career. But I can’t do it anymore,’’ he says
Last weekend he had the chance to look around the new theatre building, which he describes as ‘‘very, very impressive’’.
‘‘It just blew me away. At the end of the day I think it’s all going to be worth it,’’ he says.
His goal is to attend the first show, Mamma Mia!, next May. He does not think he will be able to make it up to the seat, which is in the silver section, in the middle of the theatre.
‘‘Very probably I will never sit in it. If I go to a show I will have to sit in a wheelchair.’’
Lynne says she is ‘‘totally supportive’’ of the new theatre and ‘‘thrilled to contribute’’.
Their children and grandchildren live around Marlborough and it will be ‘‘quite a thing’’ for them to see his name on the seat, she says.
People can sponsor platinum, gold, silver and bronze seats in the new theatre . Seats range from $1500 each in the ‘‘bronze’’ section to $10,000 each in the ‘‘platinum’’ section. Those who sponsor a seat get a minimum of 24 hours’ advance booking for shows.
Lynne Hammond, left, is sponsoring a $3000 seat in the new theatre for her husband Gary, which will have his name on it.