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Porirua Little Theatre celebrates 70 years

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Porirua Little Theatre has packed plenty into its 70-year existence - famous faces, friendships, dozens of shows, and the need for a new home.

The organisation is marking its anniversary with an exhibition at Pātaka that chronicles its history, from humble beginnings right up to its current show.

It is a vibrant display of costumes, props, stories and photos that tell the story of the theatre that’s had a place in the hearts of so many Porirua families for generations.

It began when a note was sent around with the Titahi Bay milkman in 1950, inviting residents to a meeting to discuss the possibility of a local theatre company.

Exhibition organiser Theresa Savory, a member of PLT for 46 years, says it’s a place where lifelong friendships were made.

"It’s often a family affair, with married couples having met during the shows and their children going on to perform in subsequent plays," she says.

"There are sometimes three generations of a family involved."

Famous faces that turned out for PLT include TV personality Gary McCormick, who grew up in the seaside suburb. He made his stage debut at the theatre and a picture survives of him as a young man sporting a tutu.

After losing its home in the Whitehouse Rd shops in 2012, PLT has been searching for a permanent home ever since.

"If anyone knows of a venue, please let us know. We are very good at converting a warehouse into a theatre!" Savory says.

Along with the need for a secure base, 2020 has been a year of forced interruptions, with productions cancelled due to Covid-19. The theatre now has a pandemic plan in place, so that shows can take place at Alert levels 1 and 2.

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker says it is a fitting time to be celebrating Porirua Little Theatre.

"It’s during challenging times like the year we’ve just experienced that the performing arts really come into their own - providing a sense of purpose and community for those involved, and much needed fun and entertainment for local audiences," Mayor Baker says.

The PLT exhibition is on at Bottle Creek Gallery and runs until 6 December.

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