For­tune wardrobe saved for use

Otago Daily Times - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID LOUGHREY

THE For­tune The­atre’s wardrobe has been saved for use in Dunedin, fol­low­ing the in­sti­tu­tion’s demise.

The wardrobe, de­scribed as na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant, will be looked af­ter by Stage South, a group of the­atre pro­fes­sion­als who got to­gether af­ter the For­tune closed last month.

The For­tune The­atre Trust an­nounced in early May the fa­cil­ity was no longer fi­nan­cially vi­able.

It emerged this week the wardrobe would be kept in the city af­ter the Dunedin City Coun­cil paid $4000 to­wards its $10,000 cost, the Friends of the For­tune paid the same amount, and a pri­vate donor the rest.

The money was used to pay the trust for the wardrobe on be­half of Stage South.

Stage South steer­ing group mem­ber Cindy Diver said the group’s main fo­cus was to re­tain the wardrobe in Dunedin for use by lo­cals.

The ac­tors, writ­ers, di­rec­tors and oth­ers who made up Stage South — in the process of be­com­ing a char­i­ta­ble trust — wanted to find a way to sus­tain pro­fes­sional the­atre in Dunedin.

‘‘One of the key as­pects is to main­tain the key as­set of the amaz­ing wardrobe which has been gath­ered over the last 40 years.

‘‘Luck­ily we have been able to do that.’’

The wardrobe would con­tinue to be housed at King Ed­ward Court, in Stu­art St.

Ms Diver said her com­pany, TheatreWorks Ltd, had pro­vided spon­sor­ship for rent and main­te­nance of the wardrobe for the next six months, un­til Stage South was up and run­ning and could find a way of fund­ing it.

Ms Diver said the cos­tumes would pri­mar­ily be an as­set for Stage South, but with enough fund­ing the wardrobe would be run in a way sim­i­lar to how was in the past, when school groups and oth­ers could use it.

‘‘That’s a bit fur­ther down the line, be­cause we don’t have those pro­cesses in place to al­low that to be done yet.’’

Ms Diver said the wardrobe was ‘‘ab­so­lutely’’ na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant.

‘‘There are cos­tumes in there that are vin­tage cos­tumes of an era you just couldn’t get a col­lec­tion like that eas­ily.

‘‘There are some cos­tumes in there that I don’t know if any­one else in New Zealand has got.

‘‘There is a lovely ar­ray.’’

For­tune board of trustees chair­woman Ha­ley van Leeuwen said she was de­lighted Stage South had taken own­er­ship of the wardrobe.

It was sold, rather than do­nated, be­cause the trust had a fidu­ciary re­spon­si­bil­ity to re­pay cred­i­tors, and planned to ap­point liq­uida­tors to sell the the­atre’s as­sets.

The trust planned to sell all the the­atre’s re­main­ing as­sets by auc­tion, and was plan­ning a spe­cial gen­eral meet­ing on July 9, at the Dunedin City Li­brary, to rat­ify a res­o­lu­tion to dis­solve the trust and ap­point liq­uida­tors.

PHOTO: PETER MCIN­TOSH

Good for­tune . . . Ac­tress Nadya Shaw Ben­nett dis­plays items from the For­tune The­atre’s wardrobe that have been bought by Stage South.

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