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Archive Details Assistance Required

image for We have been adding plays to 'Past Productions' however are missing some details. If you can help fill in any of the gaps below please contact Anna Adam by email to or call on mobile 021 137 4936. Some productions are complete however the details have been left in as a guide for the plays put on around the same time.

April 1990 - The Trader directed by Dierdre Osborne - no material available
Nov 1990 - A Girl in my Soup directed by Jennie Neuman - no material available

Sept 1991 - Habeus Corpus directed by John Whittaker - pictures but no programme (no cast list) - can you identify anyone in this photograph?
July 1992 - Hay Fever directed by Roy Bonnell - no material available

April 1993 - Local Affairs directed by Anthony Bryant - complete
?? Jun/July 1993 - missing
?? Aug/Sept 1993 - missing

?? April 1994 - missing
June 1994 - Present Laughter directed by Cynthia Cahill-Smith - complete
?? September 1994 - missing

June 1995 - An Inspector Calls directed by Cynthia Cahill-Smith - complete
Oct 1995 - The Dresser directed by Cynthia Cahill-Smith - complete
?? Is there another play missing from 1995

June 1996 - I Am A Camera directed by Kenneth Porter - complete
Oct 1996 - Joyful and Triumphant directed by Cynthia Cahill-Smith - complete
?? Is there another play missing from 1996

March 1998 - ETS and Pocket Theatre - A Month of Sundays by Bob Larbey directed by Gordon Currie - poster and dates only

Nov 1998 - The Mysterious Mr Love directed by Kenneth Porter - season cancelled as rights not obtainable from the UK

Call for Directors 2019 and 2020

Call for Directors 2019 and 2020

Applications are invited from Directors who would like to present a play, or selection of plays, to be considered for the Ellerslie Theatrical Society 2019 and 2020 seasons.  Applications close on Saturday 22 June 2018.  Expressions of interest are also invited to direct the Christmas Float in 2018 and the first play of 2020.

Tentative dates are:

Christmas Float 2018
Sunday 2 December

Main Bill 1 - 2019
Season 14 to 23 March
Audition Saturday 10 November 2018
Rehearsals start Sunday 6 January 2019

Main Bill 2 - 2019
Season 6 to 15 June
Audition Saturday 16 March 2019
Rehearsals start Sunday 31 March 2019

Main Bill 3 - 2019 The Ellerslie Festival of One Act Plays 2019
Season 22 to 31 August
Auditions Saturday 8 June 2019
Rehearsals start Monday 17 June 2019

Main Bill 4 - 2019
Season 7 to 16 November
Audition Saturday 24 August 2019
Rehearsals start Tuesday 3 September 2018

Christmas Float 2019
Sunday 1 December

Main Bill 1 - 2020
Season 12 to 21 March 2020
Audition Saturday 9 November 2019
Rehearsals start Sunday 5 January 2020

If you wish to direct a play at ETS, please download our application form. Or for more information email

Membership Renewal 2018

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ETS needs your support which you can give by renewing or by becoming a new financial member, attending the shows and participating in our productions in the areas of activity outlined on the membership form. The membership year runs from 1 January to 31 December each year.

As a member you will:
receive regular newsletters and audition notices;
be able to participate in ETS plays and social functions;
receive a discount on ticket purchases;
support your local, non-profit, theatrical society.

Renew your membership or become a new member by 1 March 2018 and go in the draw to win two tickets to any ETS show this year.

You can pay via internet banking (instructions in membership form) or post a cheque to Treasurer, ETS, PO Box 11 432, Ellerslie, Auckland 1542. If you are interested or willing to participate in any aspect of the theatre, please let us know by ticking or adding your interest on the membership form.

You can download our membership form here.

Volunteers Required

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ETS volunteers play a vital part in the life of the theatre – assisting with a variety of tasks and bringing their own enthusiasm, knowledge and skills to add to the theatre experience.

Can you offer any talents and time with any of the following:
. Being part of the team making ‘finger foods’ for Gala nights,
. Helping serve teas and coffees and with general hospitality during shows,
. Creative ideas and skills for Front of House Displays,
. Helping with catering, serving and clearing up during our Double Dress rehearsal?

Please contact Ros Stewart on 021 182 8109 or email

For more details please contact Ros Stewart on 021 182 8109 or by email to

Ticket discounts

We give a discount to members, to bookings of 10 or more, to Community Services card-holders and to Superannuants. Please note that only one of these discounts can be claimed on any ticket.

ETS AGM - 10 April 2017

The Annual General Meeting of the Ellerslie Theatrical Society Inc. was held on MONDAY 10 APRIL 2017 at the STABLES THEATRE.

Committee and officers were elected as follows:

President—Anna Adam 
Vice President—Bruce Brown
Secretary—David Blakey
Treasurer—Rona Colbert

Management Committee:
Jocelyn McQuaid
Charlotte Taylor
Helen Thomas
Lucy Flavell

Patron (continuing)—Desley Simpson
Honorary Accountant —Bryan Mott

Extract from the report presented by Anna Adam—President 2016:

Budgets & Expenditure:  Production and administration costs have remained static since 2014 however with audience numbers down the ticket and bar sales were well down on 2015. 
In addition to grants we are exceptionally fortunate to get discounts and support from Brian Mott, Harcourts, Soar Print and Speedy Signs.  ETS is extremely grateful to these people and organisations for their support.  We are also certain our Patron, Desley Simpson, is instrumental in facilitating much of our Council support.

Volunteers and Membership: The number of financial members remains static.  The income received from subscriptions provides a small contribution towards the costs of sending out newsletters and publicity material.  The committee has discussed, on several occasions, the option of reducing the number of posted newsletters to bring these costs down.  While we have been reluctant to stop this physical reminder, it would appear, from the declining response to newsletters, diminishing audiences and fewer audition attendees, that the money could be better spent.   We will review this for 2017.

Publicity & Marketing:  An aim of the committee for 2016 was to finalise the 2017 programme early enough to present a Taster Evening before the year end.  With little time to spare after the programme was set, five tasters were cast and presented to a small but appreciative audience.  We have received a number of confirmed Playhouse Night bookings as a result .

Summary:  Ellerslie Theatrical Society Inc. continues to be very healthy.  Some hard work and important decisions will be required by the committee this year to maintain this status.  Thank you to everyone involved with the productions and management of the society in 2016 as without you Ellerslie would not have a theatre. 

Presentations:  The Management Committee are recommending two members for Life Membership this year.  This is not taken lightly by the committee and is in special recognition of the outstanding contribution from an individual and the impact of their membership of the society.

Paul Gapper was relatively new to ETS when he took on the role of President to give John Charlton some breathing space.  In addition to chairing the society he also set up guidelines for the Stage Managers and created job descriptions for this role and those of the Bar Manager.  He was also instrumental in creating production budgets and reviewing ways of reducing general expenses.

Renee Palmer has been a long-standing member of the society.  She has been on stage numerous times and supplied her beautiful and vast wardrobe for many productions, sometimes making the costumes as well.  Additionally, she has created and produced many of the annual Christmas Floats entered as part of the Ellerslie Business Association parade.  The society has been awarded many ‘First Prizes’ for Best Float as a result.

There were also two 'Honorary Membership' certificates awarded:

Roger Sawtell will soon be moving out of Auckland.  He has been involved with the theatre and the committee for over 11 years and has more recently been the Technical Manager responsible for the electrical assets of the society.  Roger has designed and operated the lighting for many productions, assisted at set builds and has been a member of the Executive as Vice-President of the society.  His pragmatism and calm considered approach to issues will be missed.  The committee has pleasure in awarding Roger with an Honorary Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of his services to the society.

Sue Spurling has given her notice to resign as a member of the society.  Sue has been a loyal member and active committee member until last year when she relocated from Auckland to Raglan.  She continued as the Front of House and Hospitality Manager for ETS and commuted for special events and each play season.  In addition to ensuring the cast were watered and fed during rehearsals she also catered for the cast and crew dinner for each play, managed a team of volunteers for kitchen and FOH duties, organised the wrap party and cast gifts for presentation, and created many of the displays for each play including the odd quiz.  The committee has pleasure in awarding Sue with an Honorary Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of her services to the society. 

The full report can be downloaded here. ETS AGM 2017 - President's Report

Christmas Float 2017 -- The Colours of Christmas

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Another resounding success by Renee Palmer and her Christmas Float Elves, creating the Colours of Christmas for the Ellerslie Christmas Parade 2016. Congratulations to Renee Palmer and her helpers. Thanks go to Colin and A.J. Tutill & Son for providing the driver and truck, Terry Palmer and Rex Steele for their substantial contributions, Chris Seager, Rona Colbert, Janet Cutting, Lucy Flavell and all those Xmas Elves who helped make it fun on the day.

The Ellerslie Business Association Santa Parade 2017 will be on Sunday the 3rd of December. If you would like to be involved with the ETS Float please contact Rona Colbert on 09 525 3336 to register your interest.

Review: Festival of One Act Plays

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GROUP A - Review by Jenny Soden

This was a most interesting night of theatre. If you did not see these performances, you missed a great night at the theatre.

Written by David Blakey
Directed by Daryl Wrightson
Doctor ~ John Moloney
Priest ~ Tom Coup
Stage Manager ~ Jo Olsen
Prostitute ~ Lisa Inman
Girl ~ Amy Arnold
Boy ~ Tom Sutherland

Firstly, we had David Blakey’s “Performing” directed by Daryl Wrightson. The wisely chosen cast offered us plenty of laughs as we were entertained with the antics backstage at an “unknown” theatre.

Written by John Broughton
Directed by Jocelyn McQuaid
Sister Bartholemew ~ Ruth Flynn
Corporal Johnny Cooper ~ Sean Miller

Secondly, we were greatly moved by John Broughton’s “The Private War Of Corporal Cooper” directed by Jocelyn McQuaid. This took us back to France and Dunedin during World War 1, where a young soldier dreams of the girl he will one day marry and a Nun dreams (perhaps) about a son she might have had. The ending was spine chillingly moving.

Written by Fiona Farrell
Directed by Chrissy Hodkinson
Valmai ~ Julia Mitchell
Chrissy ~ Bella-Anne Wheeler
Georgia ~ Rochelle Cowie
Bron ~ Ruth Flynn

Thirdly, we had Fiona Farrell’s “Chook Chook” directed by Chrissy Hodkinson. Whilst being a comedy, there were several moral issues discussed and we were given an insight into the individual reactions of the personalities. The costuming was brilliant and the energy expended a joy to watch. The Directors of these three plays must all be congratulated and, whilst all cast members were excellent, special mention must be made of Ruth Flynn’s tour de force in playing two such diverse characters one after the other.

GROUP B - Review by Rex Steele

Written and Directed by Mary Granfors
Nurse ~ Emily Woodall
Hazel ~ Linda Pudney
Maddie ~ Liz Philipp
Mr Holden ~ Rex McIntosh
Kai ~ Raj Singh

In a delicately handled snippet of plausible reality, reflecting a scenario all too common amongst a few of the vulnerable elderly of our society. Hazel languishes, abandoned and lost. As she wallows in her hopelessness, not even an optimistic nurse or a muddle headed friend can stir her from lethargy. Enter a doctor refugee, plausibly reduced to the position of janitor, but with intellect, compassion and judgement intact, as an unlikely catalyst for change. His effect on her is dynamic, and her indifference dissolves, but her focus on bringing an end to her own life indicates that the change is only a means to an end. I was left wishing that this play had been longer, allowing greater development of the fleeting relationship.

Written by David Ives
Directed by Annie Whittaker
Betty ~ Merrin Cavel
Billie ~ Mandy Clark

Honed down to basics with superb timing, this gimmicky, crisp, pithy and energetic take on an ended relationship was just the right length. Adroit, funny changes of direction were captured precisely by the actors who delivered the results of intense rehearsal beautifully. Gradual muting of the gong through the play might have spared us a little of its relentless dominance.

Written by Edward Allan Baker
Directed by Carl Drake
Sandra ~ Lyndsey Garner
Dolores ~ Brooke Peterson

With an explosive start quickly capturing the audience’s attention, two voluble actors drew us immediately into the chaos that was the normality of their character’s lives. As they progressed however, it became apparent that they lived on the edge of shallowness and talked frequently past each other. Snippets of sordid life delivered with the energy of empty vessels making the most noise, left me wondering if they ever thought of what they could give to a relationship. Specific incidents were very well handled and the quieter moments were excellent with the suggestion of impropriety of their father subtly implied. A play for selective audiences with excellent hearing, unfazed by the unconvincing handling of a gun, and not deterred by Tom Lehrer’s reflection that, “if people can’t communicate the least they can do is shut up.”

Review: Festen

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written by David Eldridge
directed by David Blakey

Christian - Kristof Haines
Michael - David Steadman
Mette - Jenevieve Longhurst
Kris - Zach Mole
Helene - Ksenia Khor
Lars - Kashan Preston
Else - Rae Ryan
Helge - Des Smith
Pia - Kate Davison
Poul - Alan J. Thomson
Helmut - David Burchall
Grandfather - Max Golding
Kim - Stephanie Wallis
Gbatokai - Sami (Thamra Prasath) Saminathan

Review by Rex Steele

People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events. T.S.E.

“It’s Daddy’s Birthday!” Your wife and children have gathered to help you celebrate. Christian and Michael set the scene with a brotherly wrestle, while Michael dares everyone to wash his mouth out with soap. Conflicting sibling relationships are quickly established through slick scene changes as skeletons emerge. While the bed plays host to a fluid menage a six we can be a little confused, partly by the time slides, as to who are factotums, and who not.

Clearly disparate characters are well delineated, with Helge and his sons rendered as a powerfully acted trio. I wish I was as thick skinned. The women are not, by their smaller roles, so able to develop their characters, though wives and sister wear, but hide, their inner suffering extremely well.

And so we move on to “Dinner for Twelve”. If we haven’t torn each other quite to pieces yet, let’s do it now. Helmut, valiant M.C. does his best, Poul, human but lamenting his brokenness struggles, Christian, we are told, mixes fact and fantasy, while Else bears it with resignation but bravely escapes in the end. Grandfather delights us with his deftly misplaced enthusiastic observations and Helene delivers her dead sister’s letter with deftly controlled skill.

Throw in an imaginary friend “Snoot” and then an exotic boyfriend Gbatokai and we are challenged by a racist rant. Blaming each other for the tragic suicide of sister Linda, is very revealing…when Daddy takes a bath. The scenes of violence and loathing are particularly well rendered, drawing us in to the fear and disgust.
Great to see a natural and innocent performance by young newcomer Zach.

Director David takes a challenging play and with an excellent cast gives us a tense, vibrant and powerful evening. As Kate Hepburn says in “The Lion in Winter” film, “What family doesn’t have its ups and downs?” And I thought Victor Borge was the epitome of Danishness.

Review: Boys at the Beach

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Boys at the Beach
written by Alison Quigan & Ross Gumbley
directed by David Charteris

Bully - Jono Smith
Coops - Junior Misimoa
Den - Andrew Norman
Skeen - Andrew Craik
Francie - Laurene Dearlove
Julie - Jo Olsen
Jamie Waters - Eva Allan

Review by Rex Steele

Is it easy to envy the boys at the beach for their normal, relaxed, uncomplicated approach to life? Thrown together by chance their loud, opinionated, constantly lubricated commentary softens life’s complexities and reduces it to the few basics that make young men’s lives easier to traverse. Loosely paralleling the era’s cricket ebbs and flows, (on the underarm… “Where’s an Australian? I wanna thump someone”) this play sits easily and happily with audience members who grew up kiwi, but may occasionally bewilder those who did not.

Jono captures the impetuous Bully, Andrew N envelopes the larger than life Den, while Jo places an iron fist around Julie. Junior, as Coop leads by default, Andrew C powerfully controls Skeen, and Laurene fluidly evokes Francie the versatile matriarch. Jamie, through Eva provides a quiet contrast to the relentless uninhibited flow of the others. The scene with the youngsters could put anyone off having children…forever.

An evocative, evenly lit set encloses relentless bluster, beery, and basic one liners, plastering the confidence of youth over a half g quarter acre shagging paradise. With “just a bit more authority round the eyes” Director David has knitted an excellent cast into a dynamically paced, nostalgic, pastiche of an enviable era of our own, alas, not so recent past.

Review: Waiting in the Wings

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written by Noel Coward
directed by Rex Steele

May Davenport - Susan Hargraves
Lotto Bainbridge - Penel Keegan
Almina Clare - Margaret Ussher
Deidre O'Malley - Linda Pudney
Perry Lascoe - Ken Morrison
Cora Clarke - Rae Ryan
Dr Jevons / Alan Bennet - Geoff Gunn
Sylvia Archibald - Julia Leathwick
Osgood Meeker - Chris Seager
Maud Melrose - Renee Palmer
Zelda Fenwick - Elizabeth Gill
Sarita Myrtle - Liz Philipp
Bonita Belgrace - Ruth Hyde
Estelle- Kathy Walker
Dora / Topsy Baskerville - Diane O'Sullivan
Doreen - Jessica Rule

Review by Jocelyn McQuaid

A play about a group of elderly, retired actresses, living out their days in a “charity” home. What a ghastly idea! But when the author is Noël Coward, the Master, the scenario brightens more than somewhat.

Directed by long-time ETS stalwart, Rex Steele, “Waiting in the Wings” is one of those wonderful plays which provides roles for almost everyone in a community theatre group. The menfolk in this play are mostly minor characters, with the exception of “Perry Lascoe,” played by Ken Morrison. He cajoles and persuades the “old dears,” making sure they are comfortable in this delightful home. “Osgood Meeker,” played by Chris Seagar, long-time admirer of one of the very old actresses, gently bumbles along with his bunch of violets, and “Dr Jevons” and “Alan Bennet,” both small roles, were competently played by Geoff Gunn.

And the ladies? “May Davenport” (Susan Hargraves) and “Lotta Bainbridge” (Penel Keegan) are the leading ladies who have been at war with each other for many years, a situation which is resolved after a late-night chat. Both these actresses have performed in many roles over the years, and showed just how it should be done.

It is hard to single out any one performer in a play of this nature, but Julia Leathwick as the Superintendent, “Sylvia Archibald,” stands out. Another is Linda Pudney as the Irish actress “Deidre O’Malley,” who dies on stage (more than slightly theatrically!). And who could forget the delightfully dotty “Sarita Myrtle,” played by Liz Philipp.

All those taking part acquitted themselves well, and were assisted by a comfortable and realistic setting. It all made for a pleasant evening’s entertainment.

Review: The Pin Up Boys

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a New Zealand Comedy by Mark Rayner
directed by Linda Pudney

Doris - Francene McIlroy
Percy - David Lundon
William - Rhys Owen
J.T. - Joshua Bruce
Stacey - Jo Olsen
Ricky - Blair Corbett
Cheryl - Lisa Inman

Review by Rex Steele

The Notquiteso Full Monty

As it is not too inexplicable that despite a vibrant set, the paucity of patrons, where precious little work gets done has resulted in a drop of profits, the challenge that faces these real men is the need to reverse the ill fortunes of a customer deprived emporium and save it from impending closure. So throw in a tad of youth’s eternal optimism and you get a pleasing development of unity amongst the quartet, rising to its zenith.

Blair as the laid back artist’s model, Joshua unsuccessfully parrying cupid’s arrow, Rhys enveloped by young family life’s vicissitudes, and David’s flab to fab carpe diem, delightfully unsure of where his character is leading him, are enthusiastically drawn together by Joanne, and combine in an unlikely melding of hard working Chipperfields.

Though Francene establishes embittered dominance early, poor Doris certainly gets her share of adjectives: homophobic, miserable, flabby, old, cow, but retorts with acerbic rejoinders aplenty. “How can you go on strike? You don’t get paid to work here!”

We relished the irony of the resident kleptomaniac Lisa, adding extra layers as the montyites took theirs off. And though I had hoped for a little interconnection amongst the shoplifter, the Harry Potter, and the break in, it was not to be.

Substituting valiantly, Director Linda achieves an audience’s delight, who gloss happily over repetitive scene changes, but we are left quizzically wondering if new management would actually save the shop. The playwright Mark Rayner, gracing us with his presence on closing night, pronounced himself very well pleased with the production.

Review: The Graduate

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a play adapted by Terry Johnson based on the novel by Charles Webb
directed by Bruce Brown

Benjamin Braddock - Josh Fleury
Mr. Braddock - Hamish Stevens
Mrs. Braddock - Katie Fullard
Mrs. Robinson - Julia Mitchell
Mr. Robinson - John Palmer
Desk Clerk/Priest - Shannon Lengauer
Stripper/Psychiatrist - Amie Bentall
Elaine Robinson - Rebekkah Farrell

Review by Rex Steele

“She’s young enough to be my age,” says Benjamin of his girlfriend Elaine, daughter of Mrs Robinson while she taunts back with, “I’m twice your age, you’ll never be young again”. So does age become one of several ongoing themes. Written and set in the 60’s, and yes I actually remember the Mona Lisa travelling to New York in its own cabin on the Queen Elizabeth, the film was iconic, but the play also passes the test of time.

Julia Mitchell is as always, a joy to watch, nailing her character with skilled accuracy. Josh Fleury brings a fresh naivety conveying the battle of intelligence versus hormones in a nicely modulated performance. Elaine’s frailty, baggage, and innocence are delicately captured by Rebekkah Farrell. The other five cast members meld seamlessly, delineating the multiple supporting roles convincingly, with my biased preference being the therapist who misses the point in so many delicious ways.

The Hardingesque neutrally blending set contains a fluidly versatile bed, transmogrifying, through its comptrollers into a plethora of lives of its own, and assisted by a subtle lighting plot, does it all brilliantly.

Tension, in various forms is skilfully controlled through several scenes as the nihilists and the grotesques vie for supremacy. Director Bruce Brown has presented a gem in this production, leaving us to decide if it is really a happy or a not so happy ending, and debating whether we would actually like to be related to any of them. “Just tell me to leave and I’ll leave, call me a cab and pour me into it.”

Review: The End of the Golden Weather

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written by Bruce Mason
directed by Julian Harrison

Narrator - David Charteris
Firpo - Andrew Norman
Ensemble - Helene Holman, Arthur Young, Pam Browne, Brian Keegan, Junior Misimoa, Joshua Bruce, Blair Corbett, Courtney Eggleton

Review by Rex Steele

This show belongs to David. His connection with, and passion for Mason, his evocation of the role making it truly his own, combine seamlessly to bring a not so typical thirteen year old to life. He is in command, and yet often paints himself into the background, switching continuously between sylphlike loner child of limited world experience and wise, questioning adult.

The cast, perfectly selected, meshes lovingly, dynamically crafting a plethora of memorable and believable characters peopling our own individual childhoods. What with Courtney’s mellifluous pedagogue, Junior’s sinuous wahine, Brian’s pontificating cleric, Blair’s rock cracking boxer, Helene’s austere carer, Joshua’s fragile brother, Arthur’s maniac surgeon, Pam’s magic synchronised swimming, and Andrew’s larger than life antiheroic creation of the unforgettable Firpo, we were spoilt for richness and diversity.

Individual imaginations roam free, visualising gorse and rabbits, freezing works depression when an orange is a precious Christmas gift, the long past delineation of traditional roles for Mum and Dad and hints of old England with full dress for the beach. A stylised set, symbolic of bach, beach and creek provided ample opportunity for technical creativity.

Director Julian reflects his own frenetic modus and originality and unifies it all. Whilst the end of the golden weather it may be, dressed as we are in the middle of March for mid summer, our enlivened thoughts could set off in yet another forboding path.