Spirits and money raised with ghosts

Friends of the Globe chairwoman Rosemary Beresford takes a seat in the weathered theatre. Photo...
Friends of the Globe chairwoman Rosemary Beresford takes a seat in the weathered theatre. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Ghosts are being used to raise spirits and much-needed cash in a run-down historic Dunedin theatre.

Plaques of ghosts inscribed with the names of donors are one of the initiatives being used to finance a major restoration project at the Globe Theatre.

The $500,000 project includes repairing the roof, walls, floor and doing earthquake-strengthening and fire-protection work on the Historic Places Trust category 1-listed building.

The theatre received tangible support this week with a $75,000 donation from the Otago Community Trust.

''That money has been a real confidence boost. It shows the local community is right behind us,'' Friends of the Globe chairwoman Rosemary Beresford said late this week.

''People have been very responsive and generous. We've had support from local and national organisations. Even with the kiddy shows we've seen that, at the end of the week, the audiences have dropped $8 or $10 in the donation box, which is nice.''

The ghost plaques and sponsored theatre seats have also been boosting the coffers.

However, much of the pledged funding was contingent on the full $500,000 being raised by October.

''We started fundraising last October and we need to raise another $150,000 by October 16 to access the lottery money,'' Dr Beresford said.

''After working through the condition report with heritage architects, we realised we needed to improve the earthquake protection and fire resistance. The whole roof will be coming off and then going back on again, with a new covering and electrical work.''

For the past year, protective tarpaulins have had to be spread over the stage area and audience seating between shows. The house was built by Dunedin's first mayor and New Zealand's first registered architect, William Mason.

The Globe Theatre was founded by Patric and Rosalie Carey in 1961 and became a focus for Dunedin's artistic community, with supporters including poet James K. Baxter, artist Ralph Hotere and philanthropist Charles Brasch.

A special fundraising performance of Lady Susan by Jane Austen, directed by Globe stalwart Louise Petherbridge, will be shown at the theatre next Friday at 7.30pm and Saturday at 2pm.

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