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Pump it up: Venue stages fundraiser

Flagstaff Team

Vocal power… Takapuna Grammar student Janayah Wadsworth is also on the bill

A fun night is coming up at the PumpHouse Theatre, showcasing local talent and fundraising to help keep the Takapuna arts venue afloat.

One Night at the PumpHouse is a variety show being staged on Sunday 19 July by the community trust that runs the historic theatre, providing a home to a host of local arts groups and a characterful venue for touring shows.

It is a mix of entertainment audiences could have seen before Covid-19 disrupted bookings, and also a taste of shows to come. “Things are starting to pick up for later in the year,” said theatre manager James Bell.

The venue last year drew more than 30,000 people to its shows but was hit by Covid-19 cancellations. Some of its client companies, including Tim Bray Productions, which is back running children’s school holiday shows, are also appealing for support in difficult times.

The PumpHouse team says it is hoping for a good turnout for the variety night, to help bridge the budget deficit of recent months.

Bell said the PumpHouse had used wage subsidies to keep going, “but that doesn’t pay the power bill, the cleaning, the maintenance”.

Acts performing in the variety show range from musical theatre to belly dancers, improv comedians to actors and musicians. Actor Blair Strang will be the MC. “It’s all people supporting the PumpHouse because we support them,” said Bell.

Among the acts are a young Chinese comedian, Bohua Cui, who will perform her first set in English. The Takapuna resident has a drama background through i-Start Chinese Theatre Club, but recently branched into observational comedy, based on her “dull job” working in a restaurant.

Translatable humour… Comedian Bohua Cui will perform her first set in English

Another talent is Janayah Wadsworth, a Year 11 student at Takapuna Grammar School with a powerful singing voice that landed her the role of Eponine in the school production of Les Miserables coming up next month. Tagged as “one to watch”, she aims for a career as a recording artist. She has already been a solo vocalist at Christmas in the Park and was a finalist in the 2019 Stand Up Stand Out Secondary School competition. In 2018, she won the North Harbour Club’s AIMES Junior Excellence Award for the Arts.

For those who can’t make it along to the variety show, the PumpHouse is hoping supporters might consider a donation to its Boosted page. Giving even the cost of a flat white would all help, with the Arts Foundation matching donations up to $1000. The show starts at 7pm. All proceeds go to the theatre. Tickets are $25 and available at pumphouse.co.nz.

This article originally appeared in the 7 August 2020 edition of the Rangitoto Observer.

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