A wall is a wall. How often do we look at the walls in Casa Blanca Theatre when we come to rehearsals, shows, and other social occasions? Well yes, there are the posters especially if we can see ourselves on the latest one from the last show. BUT what if those walls made money for us? The walls are red now but in the 1980’s they were stark white.
One of the largest problems that faced us during the planning of the extensions to our theatre home was lack of funds. Many meetings of the Building committees were taken up with where were we to get financial help from. There were several charities that we could apply to such as The Queen Elizabeth Arts Council or the Capital Assistance Fund of the Federation of Musical Theatre. But even with their help it was not enough to cover costs. So the committee had to start being creative and one solution was to run a Buy a Brick campaign at $5 a brick.
Soon, singly and in groups, people started to pay in their $5 and their names were painted on a white brick as a record of their generosity. Both sides of the auditorium were covered in names and in a couple of places the Executive Committee bought a column and the NZ Maori Arts and Craft Institute bought another.
The time came however that the decision was made to paint the walls red. We could not just paint out all those names but fortunately for us there was Cecelia Roper in our company. Collecting every name and using her skills as a calligraphist she filled a large book page by page in alphabetical order. It is beautifully presented and can be seen in our archives department.
Written by Ursula Schraa, Archivist