Going forth to theatre's new home

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 05:00 22/08/2014
blackadder
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ

PREPARING THE BARRACKS: Gearing up to stage Blackadder Goes Forth at the Mill Theatre's new home at 123 Stafford St are, clockwise from front, Neville Walker, chairwoman Chris Cheesman, Suellen Robb and Aaron Segar.

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The Mill Theatre is gearing up for a new show in a new home. And if the venue is not ready in time; well, there's a war on.

The Mill Theatre section of the South Canterbury Drama League has spent more than three years looking for a new venue after the old theatre in North St was deemed not up to earthquake code. It has now found one at 123 Stafford St.

Chairwoman Chris Cheesman said the group believed 123 could become a vibrant arts hub in Timaru.

She said it was a huge space, with two other storeys available for storage. However, renovation work on what they are calling "The Barracks" is needed before the November stage debut of Blackadder Goes Forth.

Cheesman said it was all fitting in with the theme of the play. "If things are still looking a bit shady, it's because there's a war on."

The venue seats just over 110 people, whereas the old venue sat 160, but there is "lots of room to move around and a much bigger foyer and bar area".

For the past year and a half all the memorabilia from the Mill has been stored in a container while performances took place at The Function centre.

"Each performance tried a new layout in the venue as we got used to being refugees and gradually pared back our set and staging."

Although 123 is still a temporary option, the group is hoping it will become permanent after the Christmas show.

The group chose Blackadder to mark the centenary year of the start of World War I.

It hopes it will serve as its own "light-hearted and yet poignant tribute".

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- The Timaru Herald

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