Friday, June 22, 2012
#1853 ... Another Theatre Doorway
And across the road from Bats Theatre is Downstage ... and is the country's longest running professional theatre, established in 1964. The founders at the inaugural meeting in the Wellington Public Library on 15 May 1964 were actors Peter Bland, Tim Elliott and Martyn Sanderson, with restauranteur Harry Seresin for the business arrangements. Sanderson believed in a small professional company in Wellington performing challenging works in an intimate venue. The first locally-written production, in 1966, was Father's Day a dark social comedy by Peter Bland starring Pat Evison as the eccentric mother with two pregnant daughters. The theatre is based at the Hannah Playhouse which seats approximately 250 people in the main auditorium, and is situated in Courtenay Place in central Wellington. The present building opened in 1973, and replaced earlier premises upstairs on the same site. Downstage temporarily occupied the Star Boating Club during construction.