Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

13 June 2010

Akaroa: The Gaiety Theatre



This imposing building in Rue Jolie was opened in April 1879 by the Oddfellows Friendly Society. In those days Akaroa was pretty remote, its largest neighbour city being Christchurch a long, hard road journey away and character-forming by boat trip round the indentations of Banks Peninsula.

In those days also there was a top-hat-and-morning-coat need for dignity and so any public building – town hall, bank etc – had to have a classical facade even if what lay behind was pretty ordinary. It was turned into The Gaiety Theatre later and is still the town’s theatrical hub and public entertainment venue.

The architect was A.W. Simpson of Christchurch. The whole building, including its faux Corinthian capitals is made not of stone but of wood. In the words of W.S Gilbert, who would have understood entirely the need for dignity, ‘things are seldom what they seem’.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
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Blurb

RANDOM SAMPLINGS F...
By Don Donovan