Tickets being snapped up for island cabaret

Tickets to the re-staging of the Ruby Island Cabaret on the tiny island in Lake Wanaka in February, after an absence of 80 years, are more than three-quarters sold, and preparations for the musical event are well under way.

Cabaret on Ruby is being organised by Lake Wanaka Sounz Incorporated (LWSI) to

bring back to life the Saturday night dances held in the late 1920s and early 1930s on the island, which is about 1.5km from the town of Wanaka. LWSI director Lynne Christie said of the 200 tickets available - selling for $200 each - there were fewer than 50 left.

Many ticket-buyers were people in the 60 to 80-year-old age bracket who could still recall their late relatives' accounts of the original cabaret on Ruby Island.

There were also a large number aged between 20 and 40, including some from as far away as Israel, who had booked their flights and event tickets.

Public support for the event had been ''fantastic'' and considerable historic information had emerged.

''Locals and staff at the library have helped fill in the gaps regarding the history of the events so we can bring to life segments of the old Cabaret via an AV [audio visual] zone. Stories have come through from Dunedin and Invercargill.''

The organising team have cleared the cabaret site on Ruby Island and construction of a new stage and dance floor will begin in the new year.

Ms Christie said there had been a ''fully supportive response'' from the Queenstown Lakes District Council, and other organisations and 90% of the required event consents and licences were in place.

All profits from the cabaret will go to the Ruby Island Trust.

A local woman has offered her piano for the event and it will be flown to the island by Aspiring Helicopters the day before.

- lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz