Globe ready for performance tonight
Palmerston North's Globe Theatre revamp is not quite finished - seats for a flat-floor auditorium are still at sea - but the official re-opening is happening tonight.
Hi-vis vests were the dress code for a dawn blessing on the construction site yesterday and the theatre was handed back to the trust board at lunchtime in time for final preparations for tonight's first performance of Calendar Girls.
"It's a project that has not been easy, but it's resolution is magnificent," said trust board chairman Stephen Fisher.
"While the old Globe was a wonderful building, it was not welcoming."
The new, glassed-in foyer overcame that problem, and was all set to welcome the city's performing arts groups home.
The project has taken 10 years from inception to secure money and support for its completion, with several delays, and budget worries arising as late as last month.
About $2.4 million has been spent on the additions, including the new 100-seat flat-floor auditorium, foyer, offices and facilities.
Still to come is gearing up of a kitchen operation, which has required the Manawatu Theatre Society to make temporary arrangements to ensure visitors can be provided with refreshments during the opening weeks.
A walkway providing disability access to the front of the existing 200-seat auditorium was sacrificed, with the trust board hoping for a 50-50 council subsidy to enable it to be added later.
The fold-away seating for the new auditorium is still at sea, delaying setting up of the technical box required before performances can begin there.
But none of those hassles are front of mind for Fisher as the re-opening festival begins.
"It was about a month ago, that the trust board saw a beautiful building rising before our eyes, and thought, we are responsible.
"The positive feedback from the community is great."
Mayor Jono Naylor said the Globe was an icon of the Palmerston North performing arts community.
"The new facilities are fantastic and will serve our community well for many years to come and will allow another generation of performers to share their talents with us," he said.
The opening heralds the start of a festival of local and international theatre productions and concerts.
Globe Theatre manager Bruce Warwick said after Calendar Girls, The Four Freshmen would play as part of the International Jazz and Blues Festival on Queens's Birthday weekend. Also visiting the Globe will be Angela Ayers, Titanium, Sam Hunt and Gary McCormick.
"The Palmerston North City Council and The Globe Theatre Trust Board are delighted to be breathing new life into the re-constructed Globe and showcasing the talent in our community," he said.