Temporary solution . . . Friends of the Globe Theatre
chairwoman Rosemary Beresford stands next to the theatre's
seats, which are protected by a large, blue tarpaulin, in
case of rain. Photo Brenda Harwood
A new condition report and conservation plan for
Dunedin's Globe Theatre has reinforced the urgent need for
repairs to the building.
Of particular concern is the condition of the theatre's roof,
which leaks so badly that the theatre's seats have had to be
protected with a tarpaulin and a special rig built to collect
incoming rain water.
The report, and its own ongoing concerns, have prompted the
Friends of the Globe Theatre group - which owns and
administers the theatre - to step up efforts to raise funds
and begin repairs as soon as possible this year. A final
estimate of the repair costs has yet to be done but the
Friends are hoping to keep the budget down to a modest
''We have known for some time that the work needed to be
done, but now that we have the conservation plan we can
really move forward with grant applications and
fundraising,'' Friends of the Globe Theatre chairwoman
Rosemary Beresford said.
''Right from the beginning, the Globe Theatre has been a
low-cost operation, functioning on a lot of good will, and
this project will be the same,'' Dr Beresford said.
Last year, the Friends of the Globe Theatre commissioned
Queenstown-based architects and conservation company Jackie
Gillies + Associates to produce the theatre condition report
and conservation plan.
The report, prepared by building conservation specialist
Robin Miller and delivered last month, highlights a series of
significant problems with the condition of the Globe Theatre
and the adjoining historic William Mason house.
These include the leaky roof and water damage, walls in poor
condition, a large magnolia tree that is damaging the
structure, floors damaged by decay and borer, and the need to
upgrade paths and fire safety.
''The greatest threat facing the Globe is the poor condition
of the structure and fabric of the buildings. A planned
programme of sensitive, but practicable, repairs should be
the single-most important aim of the Friends,'' the report
"The roof is definitely the most urgent issue - it has been
notoriously leaky for many years,'' Dr Beresford said.
While it had not affected performances, problems with puddles
on the stage had interfered with a few rehearsals, she said.
''The longer we leave it, the more water damage occurs in the
The Globe Theatre was created in the l960s, when theatre
practitioners Patrick and Rosalie Carey knocked a hole in the
wall of their historic William Mason home in London St and
added a theatre extension. Designed by an architect, the
structure was built with the help of friends and volunteers.
Over time, the awkward junctions between the two buildings
and the theatre's ambitious octagonal roof have led to leaks
and water damage. In addition, a concrete path to the theatre
entrance was laid over an earlier path. It has trapped water
and led to further damage.
''We would really like to restore the pathway to the original
wooden boardwalk style,'' ' Dr Beresford said.
The Friends of the Globe group has engaged a quantity
surveyor to draw up an estimate of the costs, which will be
broken down into components for grant applications and
fundraising projects. The theatre will also be seek support
from private donors.
''We will be working closely with our membership, because
it's something we all need to be together on,'' Dr Beresford
''And we will also continue with our ongoing theatre
This year's programme will include a dress-up screening of
the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the end of February, a
production of Noel Coward's Brief Encounter later in the
year, and hosting performances in the 2013 Dunedin Fringe