Playhouse looking to play greater role

Dunedin Repertory Society vice-president Jemma Adams is flanked by the giant mural of characters...
Dunedin Repertory Society vice-president Jemma Adams is flanked by the giant mural of characters from books, plays and movies, which fills the side wall of the Playhouse Theatre, in Albany St. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The Dunedin Repertory Society occupies a special niche in the city's arts community, providing regular opportunities for young thespians to gain performance experience in shows at its Playhouse Theatre.

Society vice-president Jemma Adams said the organisation was keen to maintain its strength in youth theatre, while working on "exciting plans and projects'' for the future.

These included increasing its focus on adult theatre and playing a greater role in the city's wider theatre infrastructure.

However, to make its dreams a reality, the Dunedin Repertory Society needs more members to spread the load and to bring necessary skills - from business people to tradespeople.

The society was formed in 1931 and has owned the Playhouse Theatre since the 1960s.

"We have been putting on amateur theatre productions for 50 years, and have developed a great strength in, and a passion for, children's theatre,'' Mrs Adams said.

"It's great for children to come to us in the holidays and get an introduction to theatre and a really fun experience.''

The society also gave opportunities to young, up-and-coming Dunedin playwrights and production people, who gained valuable experience in putting on successful theatre productions for paying audiences.

In addition, the Playhouse Theatre has hosted an adult theatre production each year for the past five years.

"This is something that has been a strength in the past, and which we would like to have more focus on in the future.''

However, the 130-seat Playhouse Theatre building in Albany St was not getting any younger, and needed maintenance work to keep it running as a community facility, she said.

The society would also like to be in a position to offer the theatre as a venue for hire, as part of the city's future infrastructure, which is under review at present.

"In a post-Fortune Theatre world, we believe we have a place and a role to play.''

At present, there were about a dozen active members looking after the work of the society - from building maintenance to putting on children's shows - and it would be great to expand on that, Mrs Adams said.

The broad-ranging nature of the theatre meant there was a great range of opportunities for people to get involved, with a commitment of about five hours per month.

"It would be great to welcome some new people, with new skills and energy, to our team.''

For more information, email

Annual meeting 

The society's annual meeting will be held on Monday at 6pm, in the coffee bar at the Playhouse Theatre, 31 Albany St.

In order to vote at the annual meeting, you will need to have paid a 2019 subscription.

For information, or to make nominations for officers and committee members, please contact society secretary Claire Wood by emailing


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