Barry Richardson checks out the lighting desk at the Theatre Royal. Photo: Supplied.

Theatre invites you behind the scenes


The public is invited to step behind the scenes and tread the boards of the Theatre Royal stage this weekend.

As part of its annual open day the theatre will be showing people how the theatre operates.

“The public will be able to explore the depths of the pit and the upper reaches of the fly-tower; and will have the opportunity to fly a backdrop, talk over comms, play with lights, a smoke machine and voice-changing sound effects,” says manager Eliane Polack.

The Theatre Royal is believed to be the oldest, surviving and operating, wooden theatre in Australasia, and possibly in the southern hemisphere.

“We are proud to be considered one of Nelson’s heritage highlights, and also one of the busiest theatres in New Zealand,” says Eliane.

The theatre hosts a variety of national and international touring companies, but it is also a community theatre, and as such is used by a great number of performing arts groups and schools.

The Youth Theatre make-up department will be offering stage make-up in one of the dressing rooms and Nelson Repertory Theatre will have props in another, so people can dress up.

“The Theatre Royal’s Open Day is a wonderful opportunity to find out about the ins and outs of how a theatre works, and to understand what is involved to make a production come to life,” says Eliane.

“If you’ve ever wanted a look behind-the-scenes, to see how the magic of theatre really works, now is your chance.”

The open day is on at the theatre this Saturday, February 23, from 10.30am to 1.30pm.