Archive for the ‘Films & shows’ Category

The Natural Magic Pirates entertained at the Holy Trinity Fair yesterday, and they were great.  They perform a wide range of songs and  encourage anyone, especially children, to join in.  The leaders are Kerry and Mary, whose performances we’ve enjoyed for many years.  This time I was surprised to find my friend Gary there with his trumpet.  They told me they would all be at the New Brighton Community Gardens later that day.  If you’re ever looking for great entertainment for an event, these are the people to contact.

‘For music they’re the ones to thank
these pirates who’ve not walked the plank.’


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A popup theatre, Little Andromeda, is being created on the corner of Gloucester and Colombo Streets opposite our new library.

Little Andromeda

It’s planned to open tomorrow until mid November with a wide variety of shows.  Prices are low and some events are free.  It all sounds great.

‘This is a chance not to be lost
a popup venue at low cost’

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Crowds of people were enjoying the Extravaganza Fair yesterday.  It was similar to Gypsy Fairs we’ve seen here in recent years, but with more stalls, selling craft, clothes, soap, food, and more.  There was entertainment from a man with excruciating puns.  For small children there was the fun of a ride on the Pedal Go Round.  This  was a mechanical merry-go-round operated by a woman pedalling in the middle.

Pedal Go Round

The Kissing Booth was empty – maybe it’s not considered P.C., or maybe you have to supply your own kissing partner.

Kissing Booth

I wondered about the Pumas.  Actually pumice, I think.

Pumas pieces

The stocks were made for shorter people, maybe I should have sat on the tiny stool.

Ruth in the stocks

The bungy trampoline was very popular with a long line of children waiting their turn.

Bungy trampoline

This was a fun event to enliven the central city.  Hosted by Gap Filler, who plan to have more such events at One Central over the summer.

‘A lot to see at this bright fair
there’s even someone cutting hair.’

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Superb is the only word to describe Showbiz Christchurch’s productions of Les Misérables.   The principles, the chorus, the set, all were absolutely first-rate.  Daniel Belle (one of the Ten Tenors) who played Jean Valjean sang beautifully and brought tears to my eyes on several occasions.  The revolving stage worked well, as did the effects, especially Javert’s final scene.  The two children who played Cosette and Gavroche were most professional, and everyone loved the comic Thénardiers.  This is the first time I’ve seen Les Misérables performed live, and I feel fortunate to have seen such a wonderful production.   The season ends on 6 October, so if you haven’t already booked you need to be quick.  The Press reviewer called it an outstanding production.  Of course the ambience of the Isaac Theatre Royal adds to the occasion, and we are so lucky to have it within walking distance of home.

‘I purely just adored Les Mis
so well staged by our own Showbiz.’


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Small Scale Suffragists

Garden City Miniaturists have created a dolls house based on Kate Sheppard’s house at 83 Clyde Road.  This and others are on display at the Woolston Community Library, 689 Ferry Road, but only until tomorrow.

Kate Sheppard Dolls’ House

I liked the little tableau of the women pasting the suffrage petition pages onto wallpaper.

There’s also a miniature of a factory, representing the Dunedin Tailoresses’ Union, formed in 1889.  It was the first women’s union to be formed, and was vital in organising women to sign the suffrage petition.

Dunedin Tailoresses’ Union

The Pankhurst family home at 50 Clarendon Road, Holland Park, London is also featured.  Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst lived here, and it was the scene of significant meetings and events during the British suffrage campaign.

Pankhurst House

‘These tiny houses help us see
a different side of history.’

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A cycling tourist asked me for directions as I walked into the city.  He then complimented me on the purple I was wearing, and I was pleased to explain that today is Suffrage Day (I actually wear purple frequently).

I was at the WEA for a talk by Margaret Lovell-Smith about the life of Kate Sheppard.  Everyone was excited because this morning’s Press carried a story suggesting the government might offer to buy Kate Sheppard’s former home in Clyde Road.  There were suggestions it could become a Museum of Women’s History, a venue for Women’s Studies, or a themed Bed and Breakfast place.

Kate Sheppard’s Timeline

Margaret had written up a timeline of Kate’s life, and gave many interesting facts about her.  I learned that Kate began her organisational career at the Trinity Congregational Church, and that the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) raised funds by running an alcohol-free food tent at the annual A & P Show.   The WCTU also ran Coffee Rooms in Manchester Street (near the pre-quake site of Smith’s Bookshop) and in the Toneycliffe and Carey building on the corner of Colombo and Gloucester Streets.  The latter was where the first meeting of the Christchurch Vegetarian Society was held in 1899.

Margaret stressed that Kate’s writing was amazingly clear and easy to read.  It was dignified, detached, and wryly humorous, appealing to reason and justice.  One of her essays was titled ‘A Noble Bohemianism’ and advocated a simple life.  She also wrote of the ‘women’s sphere’ being the whole world, and remonstrated against sexist language.  Her work for suffrage helped to develop her skills as a writer, thinker, and organiser.  Kate died in 1934.

Vanisa Dhiru speaking by the Kate Sheppard National Memorial

The talk finished in good time for us to walk down to the Kate Sheppard National Memorial for the celebration at noon.  Several people spoke, including Vanisa Dhiru, whom I knew when she was Chief Executive of Volunteering New Zealand.  She is now President of the National Council of Women of New Zealand.

There has been a plethora of suffrage celebrations recently, and I’m pleased to have been able to get to a few of them.

‘It’s good to celebrate our past
equality does not come fast’

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I was moved and inspired by the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in Aotearoa at the Isaac Theatre Royal this afternoon.  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was the Keynote Speaker and 40% of the audience were young women from local schools.  After a karakia by Aroha Rereti-Crofts, the introduction by Joanna Norris brought much cheering and clapping which continued throughout the event.  Bel Canto from Burnside High School sang two items, then Mayor Lianne Dalziel spoke with an injunction for us all to be proud of our city and its history.

Bel Canto on stage, Jacinda at left

Jacinda welcomed everyone, especially the babies in the room, and observed that on this day in 1933 Elizabeth McCombs won a by-election in Lyttelton and became our first female member of Parliament.  Ordinary women who have done extraordinary things were honoured.  Jacinda told the stories of two who had signed the suffrage petition.  The first was Christina Henderson who taught at Christchurch Girls’ High School.  The second was Catherine Wiltshire who in 1876 was hailed as the ‘Greatest Female Pedestrienne in the World’.  Catherine was Jacinda’s great-great-grandmother.

Nineteen young women then came on stage to ask questions of the Prime Minister, and these are some of her responses:

Q  What lessons have you learned from the Suffrage movement?
A  Never give up

Q  Has gender affected the way you’ve been treated?
A  The path was laid by women before me.  Occasionally I note an interesting form of language, but I don’t let it distract me.

Q  Why was New Zealand the first to give women the vote?
A  We’re inclined to say ‘why not?’.  (For a long time our most popular TV programme was Fair Go.)

Q  What are the most pressing matters facing women today?
A  Low-paid work, pay equity, domestic violence.

Jacinda said her hope for women is that they will have financial security and constant confidence.  We can do it differently and do it on our own terms, and we need to choose hope over blame and fear.  Asked if we need the feminism label, she said “Yes!” and that if you believe in equality and fairness you are a feminist.  She expects the next big change in New Zealand to be pay equity which needs to be prioritised.  ‘You’ll always have a seed of doubt but you can do anything in spite of it.’

In closing Megan Woods gave Jacinta a copy of The Lion in the Meadow by Margaret Mahy.  Jacinda stood to take a selfie with the audience, and after a karakia we all left.

‘Our P.M. tells it like it is
she absolutely is a whizz.’



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