Project halfway thanks to donations

The Globe Theatre has had a productive week.

Two separate donations this week have lifted an ambitious $500,000 restoration fundraising project over the halfway mark.

The Alexander McMillan Trust gave $18,353 to the project yesterday, after a donation of $58,485 from the Wellington-based Stout Trust on Tuesday.

The Lottery World War 1 Commemorations, Environment and Heritage Committee granted $143,000 to the project in October and many smaller donations had come from individuals and organisations, Friends of the Globe Theatre chairwoman Rosemary Beresford said yesterday.

''We are now over the $250,000 mark, which is not a bad effort for just over six months' work,'' Dr Beresford said.

The fundraising project was launched in May, after a condition report and conservation plan identified significant problems with the Globe and adjoining historic William Mason House, including water penetrating the theatre roof and leaving puddles on stage.

Renovation work on the Historic Places Trust category 1-listed building will include earthquake strengthening, reroofing and fire protection.

''Our original, optimistic, time frame was April next year, but that, clearly, is not going to be possible,'' Dr Beresford said.

Dunedin company Amalgamated Builders Ltd has been contracted to undertake the restoration work.

''As soon as we have the money, we'll get started. We have productions booked in the theatre until September, so, hopefully, it will be some time after that.''

The Globe was created in 1961 by Patric and Rosalie Carey, when they modified the living room of their London St home into a 30-seat theatre.

The theatre was the staging ground for many works by celebrated New Zealand playwrights, such as University of Otago Burns fellows R. A. K. Mason and James K. Baxter.

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz