Ngaio Marsh Theatre

Ngaio Marsh Theatre

Ngaio Marsh Theatre

The Ngaio Marsh Theatre provides a venue for affiliated clubs and societies to produce theatrical entertainment. Currently the Musical Society, Drama Society, Law Revue and several other clubs utilize the services that the theatre has to offer and regularly produce quality shows. Crew Club provides assistance and training for performing arts clubs and individuals wishing to gain more knowledge of the technical aspects of theatre production.

Theatre History
The Ngaio Marsh Theatre was constructed in 1967 as part of the exodus from the university town site. The initial aim was to provide a venue for student performance groups to produce theatre in, and to gain extra lecture space for the university. Designed by the highly respected local architectural firm, Warren and Mahoney, it follows the theatrical lines of many overseas theatres, encompassing the good and bad elements. Named after the notable Dame Ngaio Marsh, she was asked, and agreed to direct the first production in the new theatre. “Twelfth Night” opened on June 2nd 1967.
Since then the theatre has been used for a variety of cultural and academic purposes including local primary and secondary school productions, dance schools and touring productions.
A growing number of student and outside productions involve extensive use of local talent, both as performers and trainee technical staff. The current staff is actively involved in supervision and training programs to enhance the technical and safety standards of student productions.

General Information
The theatre design is based upon a large stage 14.5m wide by 9m deep – with an additional 3-metre forestage, and an orchestra pit of variable height. The first row (24 seats) is built at stage level with a further 17 rows (25 or 26 seats) rising towards the rear of the auditorium served by two aisles. Altogether 423 seats are provided in the auditorium, with provision for additional removable seating if required. Three wheelchairs can be accommodated also, and access is by a lift in the foyer.
Above the three rearmost rows of seats are the lighting and sound control areas housed in the control rooms extending across the width of the theatre.
Directly above the stage is the full-height fly tower;the fly gallery is 6.5 metres above stage level and the grid a further 5 metres above that, this allows a total flying height of 11.5 metres.

Stage Area (including scenery dock)
The stage is sanded wood painted black. The stage area behind the proscenium arch is 14.5m wide by 9m deep. The scenery dock runs the depth of the main stage and 7m from the side edge of the stage. A loading door is situated in the south wall of the theatre to enable medium sized objects to be brought into the theatre. A ½ ton hoist is situated at the dock door to enable the lifting of heavy equipment. The height of the scenery dock from the ground is four metres.

Green Room
At the rear of the building is an 84sq metre green room, divided into two small changing areas, one large area and a make-up room. Toilet facilitiesand showers are provided. It is accessible both from the dock and from the outside.

Orchestra Pit
A hydraulically operated lift 6.5m by 2m is normally held at stage or floor level. The level is variable between stage level and up to two metres below stage level. The orchestra pit will accommodate up to nine musicians comfortably.
NOTE: When the orchestra pit is below stage level the middle block of the front row cannot be sold, as there is an unguarded drop into the pit.

The dress legs (each capable of closing a 4 metre gap) are red. They are individually controlled by rope pulls on their respective sides of the stage. The main tabs are red and are controlled by rope pulls on the prompt side of the stage. These are dressed with a flown red border - allowing the height to be adjusted easily.

The two sets of secondary tabs are black with rope pulls prompt side. Flown black borders dress both the sets of secondary tabs, these being height adjustable by handlines from the fly gallery. Three or four pairs of black legs are flown from sets of handlines. These are adjustable for angle and distance from the centre line.

The standard rig consists of a two-colour wash, two or three colour sidelight and 4 colour cyc.

Lights can be mounted on any of four fixed bars front of house, or four flown bars above the stage as standard positions.

The in-house lighting units available consist of: -

  • 24 x Selecon SF1200 (1200w)
  • 12 x Selecon ZS1200 (1200w)
  • 6 x Pacific profiles
  • 7 x Selecon PC1200 (1200w)
  • 6 x Selecon PC1000 (1000w)
  • 14 x Par 64 (1000w)
  • 6 x Strand 223 (1000w)
  • 12 x Selecon SF500 (650w)
  • 4 x Selecon Hui cyc 4 unit battens (1000w)
  • 4 x Selecon Cyc RDS 4unit battens(500w)
  • Additional Lighting units
  • 1 x Strand 243 (2000w)
  • 7 x Par 64 (1000w) silver
  • 8 x Strand 23 (500w)
  • 14 x Strand 123 (500w)
  • 1 x Strand 293 (2000w)

The control equipment consists of: -

  • Strand 520i lighting console
  • 250 channels plus 250 attributes.
  • 161 x 10 amp permanent circuits
  • house light dimmer control

NOTE: not all lighting units may be available due to maintenance and modifications to the house rig may incur a charge.

The acoustic properties of the theatre are excellent and often reinforcement is not necessary. However a sound system is provided in the theatre, offering facilities for sound reinforcement and stereo playing of music and sound effects.

The sound system for the theatre consists of: -

  • 1 x Yamaha GA24/12 mixing console.
  • 2 x Yamaha P2500 stereo power amplifiers. (2X 275watts).
  • 1 x Quad 125 watt power amplifier
  • 1 x Yamaha Q 2031 31 band Graphic Equaliser
  • 2 x Yamaha GQ 2015. 15 band Graphic Equaliser
  • 2 x JBL MR 825 speakers
  • 2 x Double 15″ stereo sub system
  • 2 x 122FX + horn foldback monitors
  • 1 x Neumark twin tray compact disc player

Communication Systems
An intercommunication system is provided from the stage managers to both lighting and sound control rooms. A limited number of extra headsets available in-house can be linked to other areas as needed.

Theatre staff are required to be present whilst a client is in the venue, and a theatre technician will be provided for the duration of the booking. Followspot operators and extra crew are available on request. The client may bring in their own staff in addition to the technician, but these personnel are under the supervision of the technician, and each person has to be approved with management before entering the venue. Ushers and front of house personnel are not supplied.